When was the last time you thanked someone for helping you out in ways unimaginable? For a kind deed that was not originally intended for you, but somehow the universe allowed your needs to be met through a divine encounter? Many times we forget to show our gratitude towards others because we get wrapped up in our own lives and bypass the pleasantries of a simple “thank you” when someone displays compassion, love, and devotion towards us.
We live in a demanding world, in which we expect everything and everyone in it to be perfect, and when it’s not, we harshly criticize those imperfections with an iron fist. Often times appreciation or showing gratitude has become a lost art due to peoples desire of wanting to appear to be “self-made”. This societal notion that you do not need help and can pick yourself up from the ground without assistance has altered our ability to be gracious in the face of defeat.
“If only I had more money, then I would be able to live a happier life”, “If I had a better job then I wouldn’t be so stressed”, “If I lost a few pounds then he/she would find me more attractive”
These are all things that we say to ourselves when we are not appreciative of what we have. The saying rings true, “life could be worse” and for many people across the world at this given time it is, but somehow we conditioned ourselves to believe that life is a constant battle if it is not filled with sunshine and rainbows 24/7.
But how exactly do you master the art of appreciation when things don’t turn out as planned? How do you switch your mind off and become at peace with the present outcome if you are constantly thinking about how things could have been different? For me, being conscious of my intentions and the role in which I play in life has taught me that being appreciative of what I have and what I can do for others comes full circle.
If you are unsure of where to start when demonstrating the art of appreciation, here are a few steps in getting started:
- Appreciate the people who’ve influenced you in some way
- Write a letter of gratitude to someone – send it, deliver it or keep it for you to reflect on later
- In frustrating situations dilute critical thoughts and irritation by finding some aspect to be grateful for in that present moment.
- Appreciate yourself – at least one day a week make it about you, not what you have done for others or what they have done for you.
- Tell one person a day something you appreciate about them – your spouse, partner, friend, family, colleague
- Find gratitude for the mundane, everything doesn’t have to be a profound experience.
- In trying times, remember who you are and what you contribute to the lives of those around you
On this Memorial Day, we celebrate the women and men who died while serving in the armed forces. Take this time to appreciate those around you who have influenced you in a positive way. Be grateful for both the good and the bad, like the saying goes “life could be worse”.