Week 2, Day 6 – Attitude of Gratitude
Wow, I can’t believe it’s already Day 6 of this week. It has really gotten away from me. Today may feel heavy, or loaded, because I’m going to squeeze a lot of information into a short amount of space. We need to touch on a couple of things before we tie it all together tomorrow in the Recap.
So far, we’ve kind of stayed around the parameter of gratitude. The simpleness of it all – we’ve kind of answered some of the whys. We are going to dig a little deeper into the surface today and really see the importance of gratitude in our daily life and how it truly is a choice for us to make, each and every day.
While I don’t necessarily want to get into the debate on whether or not people are born good or bad, I do want to think about the natural tendency of us humans to think selfishly. We see shiny, pretty new things and we think, oh wouldn’t it be nice to have that…. Pretty normal behavior wouldn’t you say? Let’s take it just a little bit further – when we are not cultivating our lifestyle towards gratitude, we are inadvertently doing the opposite. Instead, we are cultivating a lifestyle towards impulse, materialism, envy and cynicism. http://www.wsj.com/…/thanksgiving-and-gratitude-the-science…
We may not think that is what is happening, because it feels so natural. It feels fine, until it doesn’t feel fine. Then, we find ourselves in a constant revolving cycle of wanting more, more, more. Maybe you remember the famous blog post from a few years ago, written by Matt Walsh, about shopping on Thanksgiving and how opening stores so early is the decline of society. Well, I’d like to quote his final thought, “Why give thanks for what you have when there’s so much you don’t have? That’s the new meaning of Thanksgiving: count your blessings, and then buy some more blessings and count them again.” (Feel free to refresh your memory here – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/shopping-on-thanksgiving_b_…)
Ooh, pulse check. Did it hit you where it hurts? It did me. Sometimes the truth hurts and that one caused some pain. Ouch. I used to be a major impulse shopper. I would make my list of gifts to buy and psyche myself up that I could stick to the list only. Of course, things would start out good, but then somewhere along the way, I would start to see something I would want. Then, it would become something that I needed. Then, all of a sudden, it was something I couldn’t leave the store without, or I wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about it. Who wants to be tormented by what they leave behind? Not me, so I’d buy it and relieve the pressure on myself. THE DANGER – The whole idea of buying for others was lost and I was consumed with selfish desires, leaving the others to be thought of another day.
Well, that behavior was far too commonplace. And, once my life and house was full of clutter, I knew something had to change. My sanctuary called home was more of a disaster. I felt like I was suffocating amongst all these possessions. They were a lot of work to maintain, and after the purchase, I didn’t really need them anymore. The purchase wasn’t a joyful purchase either, like I mentioned, it was done to relieve the pressure. It was an emotional spending spree.
Then, I decided to transform my thinking pattern and start a life towards simply living and living simply. But, it had to start with gratitude. I had to find contentment in what I already had and figure out why I felt such strong impulses to buy things that weren’t necessary. For me, I was trying to fill the void of something. Just like my over-giving, I was trying too hard to make myself feel valued. But, I was putting my value in my belongings instead of in my heart.
Once I was able to stop making so many purchases for myself, I would find people to give the items to, to rationalize with myself the need to buy it. Sure, it was a step in the right direction, but not really the best solution. It wasn’t until I started keeping a written record of my grateful moments did I see a change in my thinking. Cultivating a heart of gratitude helped me control my spending, filled up my void with a love for life (MY life) and I felt lighter, happier and better equipped to face adversity.
TIP – Consciously thinking about being grateful and taking a few seconds to be mindful in my shopping trips changed everything. When the urge to buy something comes over me now, I stop, look at it and think, “will this bring joy today, tomorrow and next month?” If it doesn’t, I ask myself, “why do I need this?” If I can’t find an answer, I put it back. http://time.com/…/hey-impulse-spenders-give-thanks-for-thi…/
Choosing Gratitude takes effort. Some days we think it will take a lot more energy than we feel we have. But, that is false. It only takes a few seconds to shift gears and think about something that is good in our life. It doesn’t even have to be huge, it can be small.
The effort we put into cultivating gratitude is returned tenfold, at least. Just a little effort to record in a journal brings a lifestyle and mindset of positive change. But, we have to make the decision; and, the decision to be grateful requires involvement.
Gratitude requires daily intervention.
Gratitude requires trust – trust to believe that someone did something for us because they care.
Gratitude requires acceptance – we must be open to receiving the gift out of trust.
Gratitude requires humility – to humble ourselves to accept & acknowledge that someone is choosing to do something for us – can be hard to do because it goes against our desires for freedom, autonomy and self reliance (we must forgo the attitude ‘look at what I did’ for ‘look at what WE did’).
*Mindful Moments – Grab some stationery. Think of someone that you haven’t had the time to express your sincere gratitude for something they did to help you. It doesn’t have to be recent, it can be something from years ago that’s been nagging at you for awhile. Sit down and write to them. Accept what they did and humble yourself enough to acknowledge their sacrifice and choice to give to you. Seal it, stamp it and send it off. Take a deep breath, hold it for 2 seconds and slowly release.
*Grateful Graces – What are you thankful for today?
To be continued…Week 1, Day 6 – Don’t be Such a Pig!
New to the series? Start the 28-Day Journey to Renewing your Spirit of Giving at the beginning by reading Week 1 – Learning the Basics – OR – catch up this week by reading the early days of Week 2 – An Attitude of Gratitude.
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