Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gratitude Isn't Just for Thanksgiving Day

      Hurricane Sandy totally destroyed her Breezy Point, New York home and she lost everything she owned. A roadside bomb in Iraq blew off both his legs and he lost his mobility. The lingering recession took the middle aged couple’s jobs, their home, their savings, and forced them to go bankrupt.
No doubt you’ve seen similar stories on TV, read about them in newspapers and magazines, and most likely you know people who in the past year have experienced devastating loss. You too may have lost something this past year. It might have been a major loss, or something as minor as your car keys, a few golf balls or a tooth or two. But whatever it is you’d classify as a loss, you can still be grateful.
Gratitude is the ability to focus on what you have, not on what you’ve lost!
The woman on national TV, standing in front of her devastated Breezy Point home, was so filled with gratitude! She stood strong and smiled while expressing to the interviewer how grateful she was. Her family members were all alive, she said. Her neighbors had rescued them from the rising flood waters and got them to safety. Others were taking care of her now. “Oh,” she said over and over again, “I have so much to be grateful for!”
Yes, gratitude is your ability to focus on what you have, not on what you’ve lost!
The soldier with no legs was shown in his wheelchair throwing a football to his young sons. He too looked into the TV camera, smiled broadly and expressed sincere gratitude to his fellow Marines who pulled him out of his blown up hum-vee, to the medics who stopped the bleeding, and to the doctor who saved his life. He said he was so grateful to be able to see his wife and kids again and to be there as his boys were growing up. “I lost my legs, but I still have my throwing arm. I can still be a Dad!”
Yes, gratitude is your ability to focus on what you have,
not on what you’ve lost!
And finally, that middle aged couple talking to a CNN reporter, spoke of their gratitude for the tiny apartment they now called home, for the used car a friend loaned them and for the part-time jobs they were able to find. Although it wasn’t even close to what they used to have, they both were so grateful.
So how about you?
What do you now have that fills you with gratitude?
Cicero, the wise Roman philosopher, said in 40 B.C., “Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues, but the parent of all others!”  How wise he was, and his words are still so applicable today.
Here’s what you can do.
1.   Just for the next 30 days, as you’re brushing your teeth (or tooth) in the morning, begin the day by looking in the mirror and thinking of what you can be grateful for.
2.   Then say out loud … so only you can hear it, “Today I’m grateful for …”
3.   At the end of 30 days see how this simple little exercise has made you feel. If it has helped you in a positive way, keep doing it! If not, then stop the gratitude expressions and start focusing instead on all the things you’ve lost … and see how that makes you feel!
Someone I know writes something in her journal every day that she’s grateful for. Her life is filled with wonderful things, amazing people and extraordinary experiences. She’s proved to herself that gratitude isn’t just for Thanksgiving Day. It’s for every day! 

You CAN Make it a GRATEFUL day!

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