I don’t know if it’s by coincidence or fate, but everywhere I go and everything I read lately seems to be reminding me to be grateful. As a North American, I seem to really only express my gratitude on the major holidays that seem to demand it from us…Thanksgiving and Christmas. Oprah told us ages ago that we should be keeping a journal and jotting down daily what we are grateful for. As I dive deeper into the personal development world, I find the concept popping up everywhere as well.
Gratitude, in the world of personal growth and development, means that we are daily thanking the universe for the abundance we have. To grateful for my warm bed, the roof over my head, the wonderful people in my life, etc. However, what remains a challenge is the ability to find gratitude amidst adversity or times of struggle.
We live in a beautiful home that is original from the 1940s. When we moved in we knew that there would be a string of renovations that would accompany our settling in period. We have done everything from re-painting the interior to changing the exterior siding and so much in between. Finally, it feels like we are closing in on the renovation and feeling a well deserved sense of repose. This, however, was not always the case. Most days I would dread to come home in the afternoons for the fear of finding dust, dirt and building materials scattered throughout the house. I would hate knowing that I had lost my privacy that I so loved in the afternoons to the hammering and sawing of the work that was taking place.
Then one day, after reading about gratitude, it hit me. I was neglecting to give thanks for the beautiful house that we live in and that provides us warmth and shelter. The renovations started to feel bigger and more troublesome that they really were because I was focusing so much negative energy onto them and not enough positivtity and gratitude. At that moment I completely changed my thinking. I began being grateful for even the smallest things in regards to the house and the renovation. Instead of hating coming home to chaos and people, I felt gratitude for the fact that we even had a house to work on! I gave thanks for the masterpiece our home was becoming, and the hard work and dedication in the people that were working on it. The renovations began to feel less intrusive and more welcomed, and I was happy to be in my house.
In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. -Dietrich Bonhoeffer