IMG_0116-300x224 Gratitude
          Look up gratitude and you will see a host of definitions such as thankfulness, appreciation, the master key that opens all doors, and possibly the key to true greatness. I love this quote,  “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings” by William Arthur Ward.  Gratitude is a mindset that you need to click into the second you wake up.  It is my saving Grace in parenting.  Whether you wake to a crying baby, a to-do list a mile long, overdue bills, or were lucky enough to wake feeling wonderfully refreshed its up to you how to take on the day.  YOU are in control of how YOU will start the day and the attitude you will carry throughout.

            Sure I’ve had my time of feeling resentful of my mothering duties, not getting enough sleep, or the “why me” days but these thoughts and feelings got old and got me no where.  A while ago I decided to change.  I wanted more internal peace.  I wanted more from my day and I wanted to be a light in others lives as well.  How could just a simple mindset make such a difference?  Well it does.  If you can simply remember each day that we are all connected and we all just want to be validated. Just to refresh you since Oprah has been off the air for a while: to validate someone’s feelings is first to accept someone’s feelings.  Next it is to understand them, and finally it is to nurture them.  To validate is to acknowledge and accept ones unique identity and individuality.  What does that have to do with gratitude?     Well in order for us to find gratitude in our hearts we have to accept that the world does not revolve around us.    We have some control or at least we think we do but ultimately God is the one who has the final say.  We may not understand at that very moment why certain things have to happen but finding gratitude can certainly pull you out of life’s deepest holes or to understand difficult people.

            No matter what kind of life you live or who you are there is surely something you can be grateful for.  Life can be hard.  Each and every one of us has struggles.   What is important is to find in your heart what you can be grateful for and send your focus to it.  It is what will manifest in your life.  Don’t think about what you don’t have but instead what you do have and what you want. 

            Another thing that will help us all grow and find gratitude is to stop with social comparisons. Social comparison is a theory initially proposed by social psychologist Leon Festinger in 1954.  This theory explains how individuals evaluate their own opinions and desires by comparing themselves to others.  This is a dangerous game to play because there are always going to be people out there who have more, are more successful, etc and chasing this is just wasted time that gets you no where and leaves you feeling empty.  Social comparisons are a real problem that can cause you to truly lose yourself and what you stand for.

            Finding things to be grateful for in life can seem a daunting task to someone facing a health crisis, or death in the family, or personal problems but there is HOPE and that hope comes from Gratitude.  Focusing on the good will help make the bad minimal if done daily and wholeheartedly.  Its amazing when you read stories of real survivors that choose to live even with a diagnosis of 6 months to live, or an amputated limb, or a loss of a loved one.  People who are still grateful through all of this are the real hero’s.  Grateful people learn to celebrate even amid life’s hardships.  They teach us that nothing can beat us up when Gratitude rules in our hearts.  We can still live and change the lives of others and change the world for the better.

Living gratefully requires practice in order for you to gain and grow from it. Simply write out 10 things you have to be grateful for and view them daily. You can be general such as health, family, a home, food to nourish me, etc…but I like to look deeper.   I am grateful I am able to spend a lot time with my kids.  I am grateful that I can cook and nourish my family with healthy food.  I am grateful for so many sisters whom each are so different and benefit my life in so many different ways.  Now once I write out these things and post them where I can read them daily they are always on my mind.  I embrace and cherish my kids more than ever, nutrition is a favorite topic of mine, and my sisters are my best friends whom I can count on for anything.  Because I am so grateful for these things they become wonderful thoughts and feelings I have and that carries out into my daily life.   Of course these are just some examples I use.  But really and truly if you try this you will be a happier person and good things will come to you. 

I have made it a habit now that after my morning workout while stretching I meditate and pray. I always begin with what I am grateful for, what I DO have, what is good in my life, and turns out I am happier for it!  The act of being Grateful makes you a happier, kinder, compassionate person.  Being this way makes you a shining light in this world and force of love and to all mankind.  It’s just a small simple way you can change the world.   Imagine if we all woke every day with Gratitude what the world would be. ♥♥♥