Monday, April 11, 2011

An attitude of Gratitude

We can't change our past, but we can change our attitude about it.

The longer I live, study, and learn, the more I realize the impact my attitude has on my life. When it comes to the bumps in the road of life, it seems that I am always at a point to choose how to react. I like knowing I have that control, and I like that I can turn my day around simply by changing my attitude.

This understanding doesn't come easily, and it's one of those lessons I have to continually remind myself about, but it is a powerful lesson... and one worth repeating. 

Finding the good in a situation that feels horrible is challenging, if not impossible, especially when you're in the middle of some major turmoil or change in your life that doesn't make sense to you or that you didn't see coming your way.  One method that works for me is to make a list... I call it my "It Could Always Be Worse" list.  I start by thinking about this terrible situation, and then I ask myself, "What could be worse than this?" Of course, it's usually pretty easy to think of something worse, and that thought helps me put my situation into perspective.  Then... and here's the powerful part... I move into a place of gratitude for my current situation.  Yes, gratitude.  I know, sounds crazy; right?  Well, it might be, but it really works, and it helps fill that pothole or smooth out that bump that I just ran into. So feel free to give it a try. Here are a few examples that I have come across of how this might work for you:

Your house is in foreclosure... but your family is still with you.
You were in a car accident... but you weren't seriously hurt.
You broke your arm... but you didn't break your neck.
You are suffering from depression... but you don't have cancer.

You get the idea, things could always be worse, so trying finding gratitude in what didn't happen, but could have.  You may not be grateful for everything that happened, but I bet you can find something to be thankful for, even if it's just a little piece.

I will share with you a quote from The Buddha that I think sums this up:

"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little; and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick;
and if we got sick, at least we didn't die;
so let us all be thankful."