How often do you start your day with gratitude? Does accessing gratitude feel like a hard undertaking? Do you find you’re too busy or distracted to tap into gratitude?
Here is the thing, many of us wait until there is an obvious reason before we allow ourselves to feel grateful. We wait until something really big happens before we shift into feeling grounded in gratitude.
When we give ourselves the gift of experiencing life through gratitude, we begin to notice more things to be thankful for. When we decide to enjoy life now, we start to see and draw in more reasons why life is a gift.
When we allow gratitude to wash over us, we receive the sense that no matter what might be going on, there is more to life – all is well.
If we know how good gratitude feels, why do we wait? Why would we hold ourselves back from experiencing one of the most powerful ways to perceive life and move through our day?
We hold ourselves back not because we don’t see the benefits of gratitude or we don’t enjoy the feeling. Even the most open-hearted, present people can find it challenging to view life through the lens of gratitude.
I get how tricky it can feel to access gratitude, even when I know better. I have everything in the world (and more) to be grateful for and yet sometimes I get stuck. I can forget that gratitude is available to me in all moments, not just the obvious ones.
I don’t think accessing gratitude has to do with what has happened in our lives, it’s more about the habits we live our lives by. When we start comparing stories, hardships, privilege or lack thereof – we get sucked into a vicious cycle of comparison and justification. We might find ourselves justifying why it’s harder or easier for us to experience gratitude than it is for others.
Creating new habits that feel good, requires commitment and focus that’s entirely our own. This is a solo journey of epic proportions, so let’s leave comparison completely out of it – it’s not helpful.
What is helpful, is recognizing that gratitude doesn’t live in the future, it exists in the now.
The part we so often get hung up on is expecting change to be easy and giving up when it’s not. The reason accessing gratitude may not feel easy, is because of our other well-practiced habits we’ve formed over time. Sometimes our habits prevent us from accessing gratitude with ease. But, with patience and practice we can form new habits around gratitude.
The best way to create change is to make change – and it’s easiest if we approach it on a step by step basis.
The great news about forming new habits around gratitude, is that we all have a built in superpower we can draw on to guide our path. Our human superpower is our feelings – even the ones that don’t feel good.
Our feelings provide us with moment by moment information that creates an instant snapshot we can use to steer change. When we don’t feel good, this is our opening to make change – it’s that simple.
Our feelings can become our wake up call to do something different.
- It might mean using your feelings to start becoming aware of the dialogue running through your mind at different points in time.
- With increased self-awareness, you might ask yourself: what is one small thing I can do in this moment that’s different from what I would normally do?
- Maybe the act of shining the light and increasing self-awareness will spark the urge to give yourself space. Perhaps you’ll use that space to feel grateful about one small thing, anything – even if it’s just for 3o seconds.
- Your steps might look like validating your feelings in a constructive way, rather than engaging in heated arguments with others.
- Maybe you’ll give yourself some compassion and nurturing through self-love.
- Perhaps it will look like giving yourself permission to do something fun. To enjoy a good laugh or a favorite activity, or get outside – whatever that looks like for you.
The point is, we don’t have to wait for something different to transpire before we seize the moments we’re in. When we are playful and willing to create change over time, we open ourselves up to experience joy and gratitude all throughout the moments in our day.
When we stop feeding stories that don’t feel good, we tip the scales toward more experiences that do feel good. It’s helpful to remind ourselves that our feelings are our indicator for where we are on our own unique path. If we feel good – yay! Do more of that. If we don’t, that’s okay too. Use your feelings as information and fuel to make a baby step toward how you do want to feel.
When we seize more moments to feel good, we experience firsthand that joy and gratitude live in every moment before us. When we see how accessible feeling good can be, it becomes easier to play around and figure out how we most want to dance with the moments we are in.
Right now are the moments we were meant to fully experience and play with – not the ones we believe are far off on the horizon. Leave those moments for another day. Choosing to feel good right now is how we change the trajectory and momentum in our lives.
So what about you? How will you start your day? Will you wait for gratitude, or will you play right now?
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Originally published at emilymadill.com