By Jamie Kirk
As I considered what topic to write about, it literally hit me like a ton of bricks, and the word gratitude and being grateful just kept playing over and over in my head. It wasn’t even the word of the day in yoga class recently. The word itself is so powerful and means so much; I felt compelled to drill down on what it actually means in relevant and practical terms.
When you place yourself in a position of being grateful for where you are and what you have, you put yourself in a position of power. I don’t think you wake up being a grateful individual. I think it has to be taught. I remember a quote my sister used to always teach my niece and nephew: “It’s not yours until you say thank you.” I love that.
It is so difficult to look for the lesson or look for the meaning in times of disappointment. Being grateful means that you are literally side-stepping grief, disappointment, death, betrayal, being broke, being lonely, being overlooked, and sometimes feeling like you have no purpose and no reason to go on.
Being grateful is essential to (two) universal laws. The Law of Attraction and the Law of Reciprocity. These two laws are significantly impacted by our ability to be thankful and grateful for people and situations that are in our paths. In my opinion, these two laws cannot be reinforced or allowed to manifest if we are not practicing gratitude.
For example, the Law of Attraction is the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on. It is believed that regardless of nationality, age, or religious belief, we are all susceptible to the laws which govern the universe. It is the Law of Attraction which uses the power of the mind to translate whatever is in our thoughts and materialize them into reality. This law cannot be manifested if we are focusing on lack, instead of what we have in our possession.
The second law is the Law of Reciprocity. It basically says that when someone does something nice for you, you will have a deep-rooted psychological urge to do something nice in return. You may even reciprocate with a gesture far more generous than their original deed. Therefore, if you are not reaping and sowing seeds of thankfulness to others, then it is no way possible, you will be able to plant seeds that are full of goodness and abundance.
Using practical examples that we all face today. Instead of being envious of someone’s looks, be grateful for our health. Instead of being envious of someone’s position, be grateful for our place of employment. Instead of being envious of someone’s relationship status, be grateful that we are independently enough (alone or partnered). Instead of being envious of someone’s home, be grateful that we have a roof over our head. Instead of being envious of vacation pictures, be grateful that we perhaps are living debt free. Instead of being envious of someone’s else ENTIRE social media profile(s), be grateful that you have family and friends that love and honor you. Instead of being envious of their six-pack abs, be grateful that you may have overcome a health crisis. Instead of being envious of their life, be grateful you have simply been able to survive.
Yes, it is extremely easy to say “you need to be more grateful and thankful” when you are in a good “season” of your life. When you are dating someone awesome, you have just paid off your car, or a recent promotion at work. But the real challenge of being grateful is being grateful in spite of a downward time in your life. When the bills are piling up, the mortgage is behind, you’re waiting for the doctors’ report, or losing a pet, etc. These, my friend, are the rough times where we struggle to be thankful in spite of our circumstances.
I am not going to start thumping the Bible and get all preachy and pretend I’m a certified life coach. But I will share with you a lesson I learned many, many, many (okay, that’s enough) years ago. Just like the Apostle Paul, who suffered and experienced life without many comforts than most. Paul shared the secret of contentment – knowing what it is to be in need and to understand what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
The above is not meant to take this article down a religious path, but a path of conscious and present living. Being able to accept the life that has been handed to us with as much thankfulness, gratitude, and understanding as possible. All the while seeking clarity and answers along the way. We are only going to pass through this life one time and one time only. We might as well make it a good ride. One that is filled with smiles and limited regrets. Today, I challenge each and every one of us to inhale peace and exhale joy. And with every breath going forward, realizing how much goodness exists in our daily lives. Being grateful is just a small price we can pay to get more “good stuff” directed our way in the future.