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Sunday, 22 July 2018

What Are You Grateful For Today?


Written by Davelynn Benggon-Rampas

There is always a pang of jealousy after seeing photos of our friends enjoying their vacations posted on Facebook or Instagram. It is actually a normal 'negative' reaction of what we referred to as cycle of wishing for what we do not have. Before we even realized it, we would ask our spouse to bring us for a vacation or we started to talk negatively about what we saw just because we do not have it right now. Whether we like it or not, we are living in the world of comparison – We forget to be grateful.

Oprah Winfrey gives this advice: “Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.” In fact, gratefulness is a unique way of celebrating the blessings that we have as well as those delightful things we experience each day. Gratitude is regarded as the ability to notice positive occurrences in our life and to enjoy them.

What would happen when we do not practice gratitude? A heart that is not thankful is an isolated heart – a lonely heart that thinks it can live and do things by itself, and it has no other way but to be unhappy. A day without saying 'Thank You' always lead to a bad day because it can be a sign that we are quite self-immersed. Most studies have shown that the critical reason for living life gratefully is to counter and halt the all-too-human tendency to slide into negativity because humans often over-emphasize negative and downplay the positive events.

There are always good reasons to be grateful even when saddled with an imperfect self, a difficult life, and a complicated world. Being grateful does not only decreases negative effects in life but also increase the frequency of positive ones. However, gratitude should never be forced because it would lose its authenticity.

Can you find gratitude in your heart when you don't get what you want? Do you feel grateful when your spouse cannot bring you to a candle-light dinner on Valentine's Day? Truth is we have to be thankful always regardless of the circumstances we may be in right now. Someone wise once said, “Circumstances do not determine character – they reveal it.” How we deal with our life is revealed most clearly during times of struggle, hardship, pain, and suffering. Gratitude is not a fair weather virtue because pure gratitude means to stay thankful even when the times get tough.

It feels good to be grateful and even better to sow this attitude among others without expecting something in return. Being such kind of person, we become a medium to spread blessing to other people around us. There are lots of reasons for being grateful. We can always change our life because we have the power to think and talk about gratefulness that bring everything good in life to everyone. Never set the mind that life is unfair because if life were perfectly fair then we would be less ambitious, live with fewer goals, and get fewer opportunities in life. Although life is supposed to end, we should be grateful because we have the freedom to choose the choices in life.

Charles Dickens wrote, “Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” A grateful attitude restrains us from being envious of other people. We learn to be content with what we have and not obsessed with what we lack. We all face adversity in our life but what is more important is how we react to it. It almost sounds too simple to say it but when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance blessing that is presence, we have everything and because we are meant to have an amazing life!

How Can We Be More Grateful

1.     Always start your morning by reading thanksgiving message.
2.     Recall the gifts you have at the start of the new day, such as the life you behold and the family you have.
3.     Always be thankful in advance for the blessings that will come your way.
4.     Think of one or two concrete deeds of kindness you can do for others.
5.     Put reminders for counting your blessings.
6.     Recall something that you are grateful for.
7.     Write gratitude notes or letter, or send messages to people you owe a great deal, especially to your spouse, parents, siblings, relatives, and dear friends.
8.     Start with a gratitude blog or journal.
9.     Read this book - Rhonda Byrne's The Magic, if you haven't read it yet.
10.  Pray for blessings for your benefactors and those who need blessings the most.
11.  Give back to the community through a volunteer work of your choice.
12.  Share gratitude messages via social media.
13.  Always end your day giving thanks to God.

As featured in Parents Avenue Magazine | Issue No. 12 July to September 2018