I’ve heard this before, many, many times, but never stopped to think of what it actually meant. We all know what attitude is- and its not always the good kind either…..But really, have you ever stopped and thought about what it actually means to be in the “Attitude of Gratitude”? Some think its the way you feel around holidays or special occasions, but most people don’t even know the physical meaning of the word. So, drum roll please…….here ya go, straight from Webster himself:
Gratitude: The state of being grateful: THANKFULNESS
Short. Sweet. To the Point.
Now here’s my definition:
Gratitude is being able to feel grateful for the things in your life, (all things) including people, animals, places, experiences and feelings, both significantly great, and insignificantly small.
People can say wellllll,” I’m grateful for my cat, my dog, my job, my house and my family.”
And that would be true, because most people are grateful for those things. But what if you were to ask that same person about something not as obvious? Perhaps something such as finding a penny on a sidewalk, and you were to ask them if they were grateful for that. They might say no, or not know what to say at all. Some could say, “Why would I be grateful, it’s just a penny.” While others might say, “Yeah, sure.” put it in their pocket and continue walking. But being and feeling are two separate words with two separate meanings. Some are not sure, and a few don’t know the difference between them, and that’s okay.
When you feel grateful for something, you feel it on every level and truly understand the impact it has made in your life. Whether it’s something big or something as small as a penny, you can be grateful just because its there and you appreciate it.
If you’re in the attitude of gratitude, everything you come across in the course of a day you can look at and just say thank you, because you see everything as a source of light and a source of thanks. Not just because you say it, but because you feel it.
However, it may not always be the things your grateful for that you’re forgetting. Sometimes it’s the things you take for granted that your not thinking about.
When you wake up in the morning, how do you start your day? Despite what’s going on in your life, you could get out of bed and dreadfully say, “Ugg, I hate that have to go to work today.” Or you could think to yourself, “Thank you, I am so blessed for all the things in my life, and I have so much to be grateful for today.”
The choice is yours.
Even if you feel like you don’t have anything at all, you could start by feeling like you do. And you feel better about your day, all day, not because you say it, but because you feel it and you feel what it feels like to be grateful for you and grateful for your life.
On the flip side, when there’s something we consider “bad” or are having a “why me, why now” kind of moment, it can be really hard to find a reason to appreciate it, and even understand it. Sometimes we even feel MORE strongly about that than anything else. Why? Because it’s not the type of thing you would normally look at and say thank you for, especially if it has had a negative effect on your life in some way. As humans, we find it hard to look at something that didn’t have an outcome we wanted and say thank you for it. Even with that said, there is still the ability to find thankfulness within it.
You could say to me, “I burnt my finger on the stove this morning, how is that a good thing.” Well, obviously it’s not the best thing in the world considering it probably hurt terribly, but what it did do was make you more aware and the next time you will know to be more cautious.
Okay, not the best example. Reasonably speaking though, that is something you could be grateful for.
I’m not trying to say that you’re going to be able to bring yourself to say thank you for everything, because gratitude is more than just a subconscious way of thinking. It’s a way of life.
And even if it feels like your life is spinning in circles (Kind of like that dog that’s always chasing his tale and never going anywhere), or there is something going on that’s not quite right, try thinking about the things that ARE going right. Or try thinking about something that doesn’t involve what you DON’T have, what you DIDN’T do or what ISN’T there. It can be something as simple waking up and not dreading going to work that day. You might be surprised at how you start to look at things differently.
Because in my opinion – notice I did say opinion here- , Gratitude is most definitely an attitude.
It’s all about how you choose to wear it.