The Lesson of Gratitude

Please and Thank You

My mother raised me to always say please and thank you. I thank anyone who shows me even the slightest of courtesy on instinct. I thank my waiter, I thank the person in the drive-thru window, I wave a thank you to the few courteous drivers I encounter in Atlanta traffic (I swear they’re unicorns). This act of giving thanks is automatic though. While there is some level of gratitude in there, the words rarely hold the full emotion of being grateful.

In fact, the real feeling of gratitude is not one we commonly recognize. We’re plenty familiar with anxiety, stress, anger, annoyance, joy and love. Even the pain of a broken heart is an easier emotion to recall than gratitude. Can you remember the last time you felt really, truly, unmistakably grateful? I certainly had a hard time.

Making the Uncommon, Common

A few months back, I decided to make daily gratitude a part of my life. I started off by listing 3 things to be grateful for in a journal every evening before bed. Journaling has never been my thing but this seemed a simple enough task. It wasn’t. I went through all the common things like having a roof over my head and clean drinking water in the first couple weeks. With time, I got better at recognizing things to be grateful for throughout my day. Soon, I was adding 5-10 things to my list every evening but something still seemed to be missing in this practice.

I needed to truly feel gratitude for all of these things I was supposedly grateful for. They needed to stir emotion, to feel important and worthy of recognition. Recognizing them and writing them down is one thing, but to feel that joyful, humbling feeling in the pit of your stomach, to view even the smallest of things as a beautiful gift in your life… it changes everything.

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The feeling of gratitude…

I want you take a few minutes today, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and think of something in your life that you are deeply grateful for. Something that really stirs those emotions and makes you feel thankful. Find it. Feel it. Live in the feeling of gratitude for a moment. Practice pulling up this feeling for the next few days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. If you have to reference the same thing, then do so but if you can find some other things to really feel grateful for, that’s even better. The more you do it, the more you feel it, the easier it is to recognize. When you recognize the feeling, you’ll start noticing it more and more.

A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles. Click To Tweet

You may start to see what I’ve seen in my life. The feeling of gratitude follows me through my day. I find it everywhere, even in the smallest of things. I don’t have to add 3 ‘things’ to a list anymore. I’m grateful for every beautiful day. For my health, for my family, for my friends, for the opportunities that seem to be everywhere. But mostly I’m grateful that I can recognize it all and really feel humbled and blessed and lucky to have this life and all the beautiful people in it.

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