When was the last time you truly felt gratitude for someone or something in your life? Gratitude is more than an obliged gesture of Thank You. It’s a heartfelt feeling that adds depth and breadth to your appreciation. However, when we get too busy it’s easier to forget to be grateful. We can become blind to the wonderful gifts given to us each day. When we forget or forgo showing our gratitude to ourselves and to others, it can quickly drag us down into a rut of ingratitude.
Ingratitude is a steep and slippery sloped rut. When you’re stuck in it you can feel worthless, forgotten and bitter at yourself and the world. You feel like everyone and everything is against you and you’re not worth it to anyone, including yourself. You stop trusting people and stop showing love and being receptive to those who love you. Ingratitude will not only keep you stuck in that rut, it will bury you there. You’re own unwillingness to be thankful even for the air you breathe will eventually suffocate you and cause more suffering as you sink further downward into a life of self-centeredness and selfishness. If we don’t learn to swallow our pride it will certainly swallow us.
When you sink into that rut and lose your emotional altitude it’s easier to forsake having an attitude of gratitude. But, if you will take a few moments each day to think about what you’re thankful for, I’m confident you will see a change in your life and your relationships both on the inside and the outside. It begins with learning to see the gifts you are surrounded with every day. And you will see that life is full of gifts. Even life itself is a gift that is so often taken for granted, until it’s threatened or gone. Thankfully, we don’t have to wait to begin being grateful for life.
I believe there are five major sources of gifts in our lives that we can begin to be mindful of and thankful for. They are gifts to be both given and received no matter who or where we are. As we share our gifts and our gratitude we will regain the altitude and attitude we need to live a better life; a life we can truly be thankful for. I hope you will recognize some familiar gifts, or even realize the gifts you haven’t seen before. I also hope you will add your own gifts of gratitude to the list as you strive to give and receive thanks in your life. You can begin by being thankful you’re alive and be thankful you have the choice to live better each day. Even if you feel trapped by temptation or imprisoned by your past, you can choose to begin again. Start with a simple, but heartfelt Thank You. And don’t just say the words, live them! Your heart will know what to do from there.
G.od: Giver of life, protection and direction. Religion doesn’t remove the mountains in life, but still being grateful for our life will help us gain the necessary altitude and attitude to climb them.
I.ndividuals: Teachers who believed in us. Doctors who healed us. Organ Donors who gave us a new lease on life. Strangers who stopped to help when no one else would. We’re not in this alone.
F.amily/F.riends: Shoulders to lean on. Ears to hear our hurts and love to heal our hearts. They are always on and by our side when we feel lost, lonely and afraid. Are we there for them, also?
T.alents/T.ime/T.reasures: We each have something to contribute to the wealth and welfare of this world. Be thankful for it and find its purpose no matter how insignificant you may think it is. You can make a difference with the gifts you’ve been given. They are there if you will seek them out.
S.ervice: A gift anyone can give and also receive. We all need help in this world sometimes and life is more endurable and enjoyable when we make time to help each other live life to the fullest.