Gratitude is growing in popularity and I like it. Go into any store and you will see the word gratitude stamped on items from notebooks and mugs to shirts and workout gear. While some may say this is merely a trend that will soon move on, I prefer to think that these mindfulness reminders are here to stay. Beyond material reminders, more and more books, talks, and lessons are further embedding the benefits of gratitude, reminding us all to be actively grateful.
I have also noticed the font color most often used to inscribe the word gratitude is gold, as it should be – gold is bright, happy, shiny, and doesn’t go unnoticed. Traditionally, gold signifies the best of the best. Like the properties of gold, gratitude makes life happier and shinier, nor does it go unnoticed. Expressing gratitude is like pressing the pause button on life – with gratitude we see more to be thankful for.
I remember pressing down the five corners of the gold star that my teachers placed on the top of my papers with pride. The act of giving that shiny gold star represented the gratitude that my teacher had for my hard work. That gold star also represented so much more, something that my subconscious understood: when we do well in school or in anything for that matter, we unknowingly express gratitude. Our attitude for gratitude improves our mental strength. I was grateful to learn and for the relationship I had with my teachers, to be recognized (not that I had the insight to completely frame it this way as a child).
There is a quote that reads: gratitude turns what we have into enough. Instead of seeing our worlds riddled with shortcomings and emptiness, lacking this and that, we simply have enough. We are enough. The corners of our mouths turn into a smile, followed by feelings of wholeness and serenity. We are okay, more than okay. Not only does gratitude turn what we have into enough, it feeds our soul, empowering every cell in our being.
Gratitude therefore has the ability to produce abundance:
– When we are grateful, we give more – more of our resources, more of ourselves. Our empathy deepens and widens as we move from focusing on the self to others.
– Our relationships grow when we express gratitude; the words “thank you” are like fertilizer for the soul for both the giver and the receiver.
– Enter parenting tip: ever notice how your kids are more likely to empty the dishwasher again and again when you express gratitude in gold, shiny letters? I like to express how thankful I am when they do their own laundry too!
– When we stop comparing and reflect on what we have to be grateful for, we are more easily and honestly happy for others, as well as happy for ourselves. When we stop comparing, our self-esteem becomes more abundant. Admittedly, I find this can be hard work at times in the context of social media. I have learned that if I am already feeling down about something, Facebook is not going to cheer me up (instead search for babies laughing on YouTube or better yet, grab a piece of paper and write a gratitude list).
– Speaking of lists, make a list of the people who brighten your day and you will realize how grateful you are for these gold stars in your life. Translate this list over time into action by sending these amazing people a note of gratitude, expressing how thankful you are for them.
Golden gratitude. Thanksgiving kicks off the season of gratitude. It’s such a feel good time of year, guiding us to be grateful for all and everything. I am thankful for all of you, for the ability to kind of weave my streaming thoughts together, for my family and friends, for my furry companions, for hard lessons learned, for amazing experiences no matter how big or small, for the farmer who grew the meal on my plate, to the seamstress who sewed my clothes, to the factory worker who assembled all my gadgets that keep my life kind of organized, to the pilot who flew me to another part of the world, and to the Universe for guiding me when I thought I was lost, and to God. The list goes on and on – once you start, you can’t stop seeing those bright, shiny golden letters of gratitude.