As you can imagine, around this time of the year I find the subject of gratitude creeping into my coaching sessions a lot more frequently. One of the most powerful things people can do for themselves is to be thankful. It is amazing how acknowledging and focusing on things we are grateful for can affect our life. It can create positive feelings while tearing down walls built by fear, anger and hate.
Gratitude is a choice. I have had heard individuals say, “Sure, if I had what that person had, then I would be grateful.” The truth is gratitude does not come with any set accumulation of things. It is consciously choosing to be thankful for those things you have no matter how small they may seem. I have found in my own life that those things I thought meant very little, once I practiced some gratitude around, grew in importance. One of the best things about gratitude is it is something you can choose anytime to feel more positive.
Some of the experiences clients have had are horrible. And I also know that if I allow my clients to stay stuck in the story of the “horribleness,” the chances of them moving forward are slim. In this story is where people can build their emotional walls of fear, anger and hate. Moving someone out of this kind of story into gratitude can result in hope, love and acceptance.
My experience has been that when I am feeling down, my thoughts get caught in a loop. It’s almost like I keep replaying, in my head, all the reasons why I’m in pain. I keep seeing myself as a victim. Just by answering the question, “What am I grateful for, right now, in this moment?” can break that loop. By having some thankfulness I begin to see myself and my obstacles differently. I begin to have hope which usually inspires me to move past my hurdle. I become a “have” rather than a “have not.” In being grateful, it’s hard to stay stuck in the problem. I personally have never heard of anyone wanting to end it all because they were grateful.
So at this time, I challenge you to come up with a gratitude list of 25 things.
If this is easy for you, great. Enjoy the feeling of being grateful.
If this was difficult, ask yourself why. How much do you focus on the negative or what’s wrong? If you find that you do focus on the negative, how does this affect your life and your reactions to it?
Living in gratitude changes how we experience the world. How? It changes the lenses through which we see our lives. Imagine if everyone lived in gratitude, searching for proof that their lives were amazing. My gut feeling is everyone would be a lot nicer to be around, thus causing more gratitude and it would just keep going.
When you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, when that deal at work falls through or when you miss your flight stop and think of three things you are grateful for. No, it won’t necessarily change the immediate situation but it will bring a little peace and happiness to your life. It’s one way to stop and smell the roses.
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