Gratitude: It Becomes You

What are you grateful for? How many things are you grateful for? Ten? Twenty? How would you do if you were asked to compile a list of 50 or 100 things for which you are grateful? It is not just that gratitude-worthy things are here in our lives or not. Consider that they are always around us, that our lives are rich with people and things and conditions that are like gifts into our lives. Our lives can seem like there may not be a lot to be grateful for, even while being crowded with greatness. How can that be? What would account for that experience? In an earlier blog, “Conduits and Dams” I outlined my theory of love, and iterated that love is all around us, like water surrounds a goldfish. Getting more love in life may simply be a case of being able to step outside our normal point of view, to permit an alternate view or views, to gain a new perspective. Without changing the things or people in our lives, we can begin getting present to abundance where before we only saw scarcity. Where before we could only behold ordinariness, now we see greatness. We can get stuck in our view of the world and our lives, but we can also get stuck in the view that our view is the only view. It may never occur to us that we can challenge our assumptions and beliefs. We may pass by the network of our beliefs and the patterns of thinking that got us to where we are now like walking by nondescript wallpaper. We just don’t see it, and as a result, we can’t alter it. If, in a flash of insight, we desire to do some poking and prodding we still may not be able to productively inquire into our current beliefs and the roads that got us to them. A coach can guide us through this maze, first helping to pull things up from the background for examination, then to support us in replacing views that have us be immobilized with new vistas that lead us to happier, fulfilling, and prosperous lives. There are simple practices to take on that give us access to new ways of thinking and seeing the world. We are in some ways like machines, and an aspect of our machinery is that we can focus -- eliminate extraneous detail to concentrate on relevant events in order to survive. This is valuable to spot incoming aggression and danger, and for that reason it is a healthy adaptive function. The downside is that we can develop tunnel vision, fixating on one or some details to the detrimental exclusion of others. We sometimes are beset by what I call 10% problems, matters that take up an importance factor of 10%. By virtue of our ability to home in on items of interest or fear or upset, and by excluding all other things going on at the moment, a 10% problem getting 100% of our attention starts seeming like a 90% problem. A session in the mirror can leave a person essentially blinded to positive attributes and features, and lead to obsession of a small perceived flaw. An employee receiving performance review may walk away ignoring the 10 positive comments and be thinking only about the 1 negative remark. A simple practice, and I can’t take credit for designing this, is to compile a gratitude list. This list can heighten thankfulness, joy, appreciation and a feeling of having a life packed with riches. Gratitude displaces dissatisfaction, sadness, the sense of being a victim or powerless. It opens up new views, and breathes vitality into lives.

Gratitude becomes YOU! See my following blog for more on the practice of gratitude, and specific guidelines to get the most out of the experience. Thank you for reading! Ross

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