By: Deirdre Littlefield
Gratitude has shaped every area of my life. It’s become a daily habit that comes as natural to me as breathing at this point. I can see clearly how lucky I am to have wonderful friends, family and neighbors. I feel thankful to live in a safe area with hot water for my daily shower and heat. As I write this, my gratitude list wants to continue but I won’t bore you with how thankful I feel to have hands to write. It’s literally a muscle that grows each time I acknowledge it.
I’ve intentionally taught my children to be appreciative when somebody helps them or gives them a gift but they’ve also learned to be thankful for the mundane, just by watching. I’m lucky enough to hear them say things like “ we are so lucky to have this hockey net or we’re lucky to have this big yard.” Their net or yard are nothing extraordinary except in their eyes. Gratitude grows everything and has become a part of their daily life. I hope it shines through everywhere they go.
Gratitude also naturally inspires us to give because everything around us feels abundant, you just automatically want to share with others. I’m not sure that we can give freely until we realize how blessed our lives are. The irony is that when you give you receive so much more. I’ve spent this last year really paying attention to this theory and it is a fact. Those who give do receive the most physically, mentally and spiritually.
That is why gratitude is also the fast track to sincere happiness. Indulgence and entitlement seem to have taken over. We live in this culture that puts me first at all times fooling us into constant taking and complaining about what we don’t have; all the while so people many are living anxious and depressed. It can’t be a coincidence; I believe that giving has to be a part of our human experience in order to feel happy.
Life is hard and we all have our daily struggles. Gratitude keeps those difficulties in perspective though. I can’t get too frustrated going to work when I feel so thankful for my job or annoyed cooking dinner when I’m grateful to have a family to cook for. Practicing daily gratitude is a gift we all deserve to give ourselves.