“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns,
or rejoice because thorns have roses.”
– Alphonse Karr
Much like forgiveness, gratitude can be a tricky beast to corral. And yet, all the great thinkers and writers extol the power of gratitude and thankfulness for leading a better, more joyful life. In my mind, it’s very simple…
That to which you give energy, grows. So, do you want to grow lack or abundance in your life?
In other words, gratitude attracts abundance (just as abundance should lead to gratitude). Whether you’re grateful for the wonderful people in your life or the fact that you’ve been able to generate a good income for yourself and your family, being grateful will lead to more of either. On the other hand, negativity will attract doubt, despair, and distrust.
As I say in my book, The ABCs of Joyful Living: Giving thanks for all that we do have allows us to appreciate and recognize more fully all that we really do have. So often we tend to focus what we lack. What we wish we had differently or more of. We compare and contrast not only our belongings but our experiences and worth to what others have, and even to other times in our own lives. Doing this will only bring misery and more lack. But if we focus on all that we do have, and all that we get to experience, and we express our gratitude for it all, we will find joy and peace and abundance there.
Being Grateful Can Save Your Life
In the book, I share multiple examples of the power of gratitude for living a happier life. While listing those here would be a challenge for such a simple blog post, I will offer this as proof that gratitude not only makes life better – it can save a life.
Expressing gratitude, especially during a difficult and painful time when it seemed hardest to find anything to be grateful for, literally saved my paternal grandmother’s life. I am so grateful she chose to be grateful. My grandmother taught me many valuable lessons in life but this lesson in gratitude is among the greatest.
I have always thought it so wonderful that the simple expression of gratitude literally kept her alive through a very serious illness. If expressing gratitude for her blessings helped her survive through such a painful and difficult time – what might expressing gratitude every day, regardless of what we’re going through, do for us?
It isn’t that hard to see how abundantly blessed we are in this world; from the wonders of modern technology to abundant food, water, clothing, housing, and health. After all, the average life expectancy for people living in the West is more than 80 years for women and nearly so for men. (Just 100 years ago, life expectancy was almost half that.)
We have so much to be thankful for. Why would we ever think to complain or compare, thinking we don’t have enough, or that what we do have isn’t good enough?
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”
– Melody Beattie
For a deeper exploration of the power of gratitude and thankfulness, pick up a copy of my book, The ABCs of Joyful Living, and let me know how the steps I outline in it have helped you have more joy.