Gratitude isn’t something we do, it’s a quality we embody.
There is no way I can approach the holidays and not contemplate gratitude. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and so I reflect on appreciation as a way of being. Not just some activity to be done around the dinner table before we feast, but as a stance I hold that allows gratitude to permeate my existence every day of the year. In the same way we say someone has the quality of “nice” we can also say someone has the quality of “gratitude.”
To be more grateful…
Yes, you can take note of all the wonderful things in your life instead of focusing on lack, or stop and take a moment to feel grateful for whatever is your focus, but I’m talking about a kind of perspective shift that forces you to be gratitude, not just do it.
So what does it take?
1. Stop making unfavorable comparisons. When you stop looking around and identifying who’s better than you, what’s more notable than what you’ve accomplished, and what’s grander than what you’ve got, then there is nothing left but just graceful acceptance with what is. That graceful acceptance is exactly the experience of perpetual gratitude.
2. Drop the word SHOULD from your vocabulary. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know how I feel about this word. “Should” is the worst word in the English language – nothing good comes from using it. “Should” is a heavy word that carries obligatory action buried in subtle resistance. Behind every should is a inconspicuous shunning of what-is. While we think we’re reaching for something we want by motivating ourselves with “should,” we’re equally pushing against the current condition. When we push against, we are doing the exact opposite of appreciating. To remedy this replace “should” with words like: want, desire, can’t wait to, excited by, going to, and must. Inherent in these words are the pure energy of reaching toward an intention without resistance. So bottom line: refuse to ever use this word so you can ceaselessly appreciate what is while you experience eagerness for something more.
3. Become fully responsible for your own experience. Think about this for a second, if something or someone else was the reason for both your happiness and unhappiness, you’d feel pretty helpless, right? At the mercy of something outside of yourself, would you have the ability to stay grounded? Your experience is your own – no one can make you feel anything without your consent. If you own your experience, then you can never blame anyone or anything for how you feel. This is true liberation and freedom. In this space, gratitude is inevitable as you will see how you create your reality and how your experience is always on purpose.
Lastly, if you do nothing else and only this next tip, you will ultimately surrender to gratitude.
4. Release your resistance. Resistance is opposition. The definition of opposition is to stand in the way of; hinder; obstruct. When we’re pushing against what is how can we appreciate it? When we resist our current conditions we focus more on changing it than we do on seeing it clearly for what it is. In order to unconditionally appreciate, we must accept graciously. This can only be done in the absence of resistance.
Appreciation is more than a frequent offering of “thank you.” Appreciation is a recognition that our experience is our own and that we create it on purpose. Each moment is a gift that reveals all that we need. When we step into this perspective, gratitude becomes a way of life.
What is your reality around all of this? Do you struggle with resisting more than appreciating? What would you have to give up to shift into a stance of gratitude? Share your experience and thoughts below. Thanks in advance for joining in on the conversation.
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Amy Eliza Wong is a life coach, writer, and speaker in the Sacramento, CA area committed to helping people figure out what makes them tick so they can finally live with joy and real purpose. Learn more about working with her.