Having an attitude of gratitude makes a profound difference. I would even go so far as to say the difference between living a miserable or “hum drum” life and a brilliant or deeply valued life.
Gratitude is something that grows from mindfulness
We as humans have a tendency to look at what is wrong in any given situation. This is hardwired and part of our survival mechanism. Gratitude, simply put, is looking at what is right. This doesn’t mean being oblivious to the concrete things we need to work on in life. It simply means being aware and appreciative of the good things and being in a grounded and loving space as we work on dealing with the parts of life we may want to impact.
Our survival mechanism serves us well in some instances and does us great harm in others. In other words, when solving concrete problems it can help us with a fix. However, when dealing with loss or comparing ourselves to others, it is often a trap and one we often don’t know we are caught in. Gratitude gives us a way to free ourselves from this mind trap.
Staying in touch with gratitude
The way that I stay most in touch with gratitude is by seeing the world through the lens of a hug and being passionate about increasing the hugging in the world, both literally and metaphorically. Metaphorical hugs are akin to acts of kindness that we do for others and it’s crucial we are aware of how this feels to us as we do it- not just helping others or being kind because we “should”.
In any given moment, I notice I can be focused on the things that aren’t working. For example, I am divorced. I can, and do at times, beat myself up about it yet it happened over 5 years ago. If that is my focus, it creates negativity and closes doors at this moment for how I experience THIS moment. If instead, I am grateful for my two beautiful children and all the meaning in my life, I can be at peace and have joy at this moment. It all falls back on my awareness of my focus. So, in a nutshell, an attitude of gratitude is a tool to bring our awareness to what is working and what really matters.