The moment November hits, social media becomes abuzz with gratitude…. “30 days of gratitude” or “tell 10 people a day something that you are grateful for them.” They have become the norm. This trend continues through Thanksgiving and into the new year.
Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with this. In fact, I am one of the first people that agree this is important for us because taking time to slow down and think about others pulls out gratitude.
Here is where we make the shift from this being about general gratitude feelings into next level thinking and being. Since gratitude is in the air (can you feel it?) it is ready to be breathed in. Typically, we think, act, talk, or teach other about creating a gratitude lifestyle. I say yes to this. Let’s create a lifestyle of gratitude because gratefulness grounds us.
Maintaining a lifestyle of gratitude establishes mental tenacity. To be grateful when things are not quite going the way they ‘should’ be allows for us to navigate challenge easier. The grass is not necessarily greener over there. It is greener where we water and fertilize. When we take the time to fertilize our own yard, we can see how beautiful it is. This is what a gratitude lifestyle does.
Where Do we Go?
Now, while this is good, needed, essential, and worthwhile, there is another angle I submit we look at. he angle that many people take on while attempting to create a gratitude lifestyle. That angle insinuates what looks like a healthy lifestyle, but really, the grass is dying.
What We Concentrate On Makes All The Difference
I’m going to ask a hard question that needs to be asked… Do you (we/I) talk about gratitude as a lifestyle or the effects of gratitude on ourselves? Ouch, right? Time to make that switch.
What we concentrate on makes all the difference. Concentrating on the effects of gratitude, we can see how it makes us feel. We begin to see others as being ‘down and out.’ Perhaps living in poverty or ‘those poor colleagues that have a scarcity mindset’ because somehow, we live on a different (read better) level than them. So, while we may be serving others, our internal, subconscious mindset is that I am better off than they are. We think I ‘get to’ help someone.
Surface To Surface
From the surface this doesn’t appear to be a big deal. In fact, you reading this right now, may think to yourself, this is way off. If that is you, then I implore you to read on. Looking at the surface, yes, we may be in a better position financially, mentally, physically than another person we are helping out and therefore they are humbly grateful for our gratitude towards someone with a need we can fill.
The challenge is, are we doing something for someone else (who has a need) so we can look or feel better? In other words, is the effect of our gratitude on ourselves the primary motivator for helping others.
When I think of someone like Keanu Reeves, who takes pay cuts to allow for other actors who won’t so that a movie can be made verses the celebrity who can’t wait to tell you who they helped and how much they give.
Where Do You Stand?
When we operate from a lifestyle of gratitude, where it becomes a part of what we do and who we that others talk about it rather than ourselves, we are truly operating in gratitude. I think of the person who walks in from the store and announces, ‘family, I just bought $500 worth of fresh organically grown produce that will better our lives.” Does a normal person do this? No, they come on the house with the groceries and put them away, yet the people around them know what they brought in.
Gratitude works the same way. Living a lifestyle of gratitude verses living for the effects of a gratitude lifestyle will change your world. It has changed mine.