Gratitude – Appreciate What You Have

gratitude

We’ve all got ‘stuff’ going on in our lives that feels heavy at times. Whether it’s a tough day at work, bills coming in at the end of the month, traffic, family issues, whatever – I haven’t met a single person who doesn’t have something that feels heavy for them at some point. Even the people who seem to have it all – money, great families, all the elements of ‘living the life’, even they have things that feel heavy for them at times.

So? Does that mean we should all wallow in self-pity and walk around with ‘woe is me’ on our faces all day long? Hell no! Listen people, I’ve led a very blessed life and am so lucky to have the life I do. I’ve also been through some pretty heavy stuff in my time. Some stuff was really daunting and I felt quite alone in it. Sure, I had some tough days but what I came to realize is that life is only as good as I let it be. On those dark days when I felt everything was against me, it was. On the days when I felt like life was full of opportunities for me, it was. Are you seeing the unifying theme here – whatever you think about your life is what is reflected back to you.

Does that mean you should just float past the heavy stuff in your life and keep your head up all the time? Nope, I don’t think so. I was once given an analogy that I have carried with me ever since. I was asked if I knew how powerful an ocean wave was. I said yes, of course, waves are incredibly powerful and can range from calm to massively disruptive. I was then asked if I knew how a wave gained its power. This one stumped me. I learned that for a wave to gain power, it needed to first sink to the depths of the ocean, and then rise up again. It is in that ‘rising up’ that it builds momentum and energy, which then allows it to crest and carry with it all the power of the ocean.

The analogy was to relate the cycle of the wave to the cycle of our emotions. When something heavy comes along, we need to sink deep into it and really feel it. If we just skim the surface of it, we’re not going to get the energy we need. However, we can’t stay down in the depths of it for too long either. So how do you rise back up from the depths? What works for me is to take stock of my life. What I have found is that no matter how heavy things may feel, if I really open my eyes and look around, I can always find at least one positive thing that helps me rise up again. In fact, when I start looking, there are usually a lot of positive things around. They can range from small things like the sun shining, to big things like having the support of my family and friends. Whatever the positivity, when I focus on it, it helps me rise up, like the wave, and crest with even more energy and power.

Everyone is different but for me, I know that focusing on negativity doesn’t serve me well. I want to be aware of the negativity so that I can learn the lessons it has to teach me, but wallowing in it demotivates me and doesn’t help me move forward in my life. Instead, I choose to be aware of all the positivity around me and use that to refuel my tank, so to speak, so that I can continue to navigate life.

Next time you’re feeling heavy about something, take some time to look around for the positive elements of your life. See how you feel afterward. There’s little you have to lose but so much that you could gain.

Go forth people, be grateful for the life you have, whatever it is, and I promise you, you’ll feel better and so will the people around you.

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