Happiness doesn’t always make us grateful, but gratitude always helps us smile. Some may say that’s a cliché, but it’s not. Gratitude is the foundation. And happiness is simply the sacred experience of living with a genuinely grateful heart. Expressing gratitude is so simple though, right? How could it possibly make that big of a difference?
Being grateful seems simple enough, but a grateful state of mind is unbelievably hard to maintain when life disappoints us. And that’s the kicker – when we’re feeling down and disappointed, that’s exactly when a dose of gratitude is most powerful.
So what’s the best approach?
Being grateful starts with being present. You can’t appreciate your life when you’re not paying attention to it. And the truth is, we make our present situations much worse when we replay difficult past situations in our heads or when we ruminate over all the situations that might be problematic in the future. In the present moment, our real situation is rarely as convoluted as we make it out to be. And we can meet this moment with grace and gratitude, if we can truly stay in the present.
When our mind drifts into the past or speculates about the future, we must do our best to catch ourselves, and then refocus mindfully back on the present. Once we’re back, the key is to accept the moment as it is. Our reality can ruin us if we deny it and fight it … or we can accept it for what it is, be grateful for it, and gradually make the best of it. This takes practice, of course, because gratitude tends to escape us when we feel let down. But this is the real world, not an ideal world. And your reality always contains a silver lining of beauty, if you choose to see it.
Peace and Love, Jim