Grateful in the Dumps
A huge component of being alive is feeling grateful for what Life has to offer, no matter what your age is. It keeps you positive, strengthens your relationships, and creates a mindset of openness and a willingness to do great things.
As I write this things are a bit on the down side. Well, that’s putting it mildly. The markets are awash with red, everyone’s worried about the Fiscal Cliff, Europe is officially in a recession, many of us have bled thousands, and it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
Hurricane Sandy has shattered thousands of lives, Israel has fired on Gaza, and the threat of war and all that entails looms large.
Yet I have chosen precisely this time to write about gratitude because when things look terrible, and our mind and emotions are in turmoil, the things we can think of which still make you grateful are what truly matter. Ironically it is these very things that we sometimes forget and take for granted when things are good.
Many people write about being grateful when they are in a GREAT mood and things are FANTASTIC. That’s easy when all is rosy! But when you’ve slid down from the sweet smelling petals and are halted by the thorns pricking and tearing into your flesh, it’s a different story. All the feel good mantras and rhetoric won’t help, and it’s hard to feel grateful about anything.
But it’s precisely at times like this that I encourage you to consider what you have to be grateful for. Because when your mind is assaulted by a deluge of negatives, the only positives that can percolate through will be those things you truly value, and are the most important things in your Life.
At this moment, when things look bad, I ask myself “What am I grateful for?”
And here are some of those things.
I am grateful that my parents are healthy and still with me. They have been the greatest source of love and support through my most difficult times, and act as my moral compass even when things are murky and gray. They keep me grounded to an earlier age when values such as manners, consideration and fidelity were clearer. They inspire me to work better so that as I achieve happiness, I make them happy too, and validate all those years of patience, tolerance and love. Especially through my teenage years!
I am grateful for my friends. By my definition, a friend is hard to come by indeed. And yet I am lucky to have six. I am grateful that they are in good health, great fitness, are doing well at work or business, and one of them is even getting married. Now that’s exciting! And I am truly fortunate to have my best friend who has been with me through thick and thin, sharing interests, hopes and dreams, being there for each other for the last five years, encouraging, scolding, consoling, and nagging each other as and when needed. I have grown so much because of her.
I am grateful for my clients. They have trusted me with their well-being and given me the immense satisfaction of helping them succeed. They bring me great joy when I see them rejuvenated and motivated, becoming fitter and younger, trying and doing new things they would not have believed themselves capable of. They offer me the opportunities to do what I love: consulting, personal training, and professional speaking, while giving me the double honour of recognition for my experience and abilities as well as paying me on time, cheerfully, and without unpleasant bargaining.
I am grateful for my health and my mind. I have the ability to exercise and read, because exercising builds a foundation of health that underpins everything I do and everything I am passionate about, while reading offers me experiences and engagement that grow my mind, matures my thinking, and suggestions for applying new knowledge. These things help me live a Life full of rich experiences, one I would not otherwise have been able to do near the age of forty. Most importantly, they enable me to serve as a living example of what I teach, and are a living gauge of how well I live my own message.
I write this because it’s always easy to write about being positive when things are positive.
And I write this as a challenge to myself to apply what I am advocating today: thinking about what you have, being grateful and realizing how happy you should be because of it, even when things look grim and the sky is falling.
If you do this, ask yourself, “What am I grateful for RIGHT NOW?” when things look really bad, what comes out will be what’s truly important to you, and those positives you have to cherish, not take for granted and forget even when things look great.