Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty – Doris Day.
The “I” in Gratitude
A blind boy sat by the street begging for coins. Next to him was a sign, “I am blind, please help me.” A few pedestrians dropped some coins in his jar. An old man came and dropped a few coins but went the extra mile. He took the boy’s sign, turned it over to the blank section, and wrote some words. He returned the sign. The number of coins in the jar increased. Upon hearing the increased clanging of coins going into his jar, the boy wondered as to the reason for this turnaround. Later in the day, the old man returned. Recognizing the footsteps, the boy asked, “Are you the one who changed my sign this morning?” “Yes,” the old man replied. “What did you write?” the boy inquired further. The old man responded, “I simply said the same thing but in a different way. The old man wrote, “Today is a beautiful day, but I cannot see it.” This change of wording stirred the pedestrians to appreciate something that we should be grateful for but often take for granted, the ability to see the beauty of nature.
It’s been said there is no “I” in the word “team,” but at the center of the word “gratitude” is the letter “I.” Gratitude begins with the conation to apply the lens of gratitude regardless of current circumstances. Gratitude requires intentionality. Noticing what we often take for granted and showing our appreciation. This means opportunities to be thankful must be sought after. We tend to get stuck in the muck and mire of negatives but with gratitude, we can pull ourselves out. Using gratitude, we can retrain our minds to view life from a better vantage point. The pursuit of gratitude keeps us evergreen in the ups and downs of life.
Evergreen in Gratitude
Have you heard of evergreen trees? Their leaves grow all year round, including the winter months. They endure the adverse climates and maintain their foliage. Graduating in gratitude means you maintain a consistent attitude of thankfulness year-round in the ebbs and flows of life. There are several benefits to evergreens that parallel the benefits of gratitude.
Benefits of Evergreens
First, an evergreen tree improves the air quality. They filter air particles and use carbon dioxide to grow and emit oxygen all year round, which reduces air pollution. Second, evergreens provide windbreaks, keeping away harsh winds that can destroy property. Third, since they maintain their leaves, they keep the environment colorful. Similarly, gratitude keeps away pollutants such as complaining, grumbling, and anger which can lead to health issues if persisted. Gratitude, according to health experts, improves our quality of life. Two psychologists performed a study where participants were divided into two groups. They asked the first group to write about things they were grateful for. They asked the second group to write about things that aggravated them. After ten weeks, they reported that “those who wrote on gratitude were more optimistic, felt better about their lives…they also exercised more and had fewer physician visits than those who focused on sources of aggravation.” Gratitude keeps away the harsh winds of life circumstances from destroying our lives. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I learned the value of gratitude in keeping a clear, healthy mind amid the harsh winds of lockdowns, isolation, and social distancing. I did this by writing what I was grateful for each day in my journal. Gratitude also keeps our lives colorful, energized, and inspiring. It is difficult to stay dull when you are grateful. A grateful disposition will keep the gloom and doom of life from infecting you. Your life soars above negativity when gratitude is your way of life. An attitude of gratitude is contagious. By choosing to be grateful, we stimulate others to follow suit.
In addition to staying evergreen, gratitude turns you into a perennial giver. Genuine gratitude and stinginess cannot co-exist. One of the signs of a genuinely grateful person is generosity. Their generosity is not affected by the contradictions of life because it is a core value they have cultivated. With this core value under their belt, they are constantly looking for small and big ways to improve other people’s quality of life. They are selfless. This character trait makes them attractive to anyone they interact with. Their gratitude dripping words and actions create a ripple effect. What words and actions can you apply today to express gratitude?
In addition to today’s post, this month will feature carefully crafted content to boost your life’s immune system through gratitude. The breakdown is as follows:
Evergreen with Gratitude (Today’s post)
Glued To Gratitude (November 11)
The Gratitude Advantage (November 18)
Final Thought: As the year draws to a close, keep in mind that an exiguous amount of gratitude goes a long way in changing your perspective. Graduating in gratitude will flip the switch in your mind from focusing on the negatives to focusing on the positives. This is a life-changing switch. Since gratitude starts with a personal decision, how can you become evergreen with gratitude?
Keep on Keeping on!
What a wonderful post. I second everything you say here and I can personally attest to the power of gratitude in turning my thought process completely around.