Gratitude grants us the ability to shape our perception of the world around us and empowers us to experience life through a different lens. When we live in a first world society, where we have everything we could ever need, then we tend to become unaware of our blessings (I saw this ad recently that is a perfect representation of our first world way of thinking). We never feel the pain of going without so we take much for granted. We also focus on what is missing instead of what is in front of us.
At times I find myself annoyed with the upkeep of my house. Life gets busy and there often seem too few hours in the day. I don’t particularly enjoy spending an hour ridding my home of pet hair and I don’t particularly enjoy dusting, washing dishes, and putting away laundry. I can think of more enjoyable ways to be spending my time. But when I pause and look at the big picture, I think of all of the people on this earth that would gladly trade places with me. I guarantee you that a complaint, like mine, would never cross the lips of a person that has lived the past year of their life in a refugee camp or living on the streets. With these thoughts I become aware of my lack of gratitude, and for that I feel ashamed. I think about how blessed I am to own any home at all and how blessed I am to have a fur babies worth cleaning up after. I think of how many women bend over a stream to wash their children’s clothes or dishes by hand. I find myself thinking that some people never sweep their floor because they have floors of dirt.
As I shift my thoughts and put into perspective the things I’m annoyed by, I am overcome with gratitude. My entire perception of cleaning shifts. I don’t feel annoyed by the expense of my time, instead I am overwhelmed by gratitude for the life I am able to live, even when every moment of it may not be pleasant. We take for granted so many things that we are blessed to have in this day and age. The great news is that we can shift our negative and ungrateful thoughts. We can choose to see every moment of our lives with a heart of gratitude instead.
What have you taken for granted today? Are you annoyed by your commute to work? How blessed you are to have transportation and employment. You are tired of wearing the same shirt? How amazing that you have clothes to wear on a daily basis. Was the line at Starbucks too long? How lucky you are to afford a cup of specialty coffee. Perspective is everything! One thought at a time we can shift our perception of our world from negative to positive.
Changing our habits of thinking can be difficult. In the past I found myself constantly in a state of want and not being in touch with what I currently have. I am in no short supply of possessions, relationships, or experiences that I should be overwhelmingly grateful for. Starting a gratitude journal helped me to focus my thoughts on my blessings. I wrote down just 3 things a day that I was grateful for. It took me less than 3 minutes and it put my mind in a positive position for the start of the day. If you struggle with changing your thought patterns, then I encourage you to give it a try. I love being able to look back at the blessings that have poured into my life over the past weeks and months.
Today I am grateful to you reader. I am grateful that you are willing to read my thoughts and maybe even share yours with me in return. I am grateful for my ability to shift my perspective. I am grateful to exist with purpose today and every day.