Sometimes we don’t fully understand the importance of gratitude in life.
Are you paying attention to the blessings around you? I mean, not “sorta” paying attention, but really keeping your eye on all that’s going on? Sometimes we only recognize a very small number of the blessings we have to be truly grateful for.
I’m not asking these questions to send you off on a guilt trip. I just think you might benefit from considering these questions for a moment.
I asked myself these same questions recently and I didn’t like my answer. Confession time: I’m not always fully attentive to what’s around me. That’s more than a tad tough for me to put out here since I’m always extolling the virtues of expressing gratitude. Truth is, I’m a big believer that gratitude begets more to be grateful for. Yet, like most people, I sometimes find myself surrendering to the busy-ness of the day, where in my half-asleep stupor I jump on that moving sidewalk that shuffles me from 8 am to 8 pm and I fail to notice the time passing, much less what happens in those hours.
Yesterday was different. Yesterday, as part of my New Year’s “New Thinking” plan, I gave myself a challenge, namely: Pay closer attention to the blessings in my life.
When I ask people in the Believe and Create Facebook community “What are you thankful for?” the most common responses I receive can be summed up in this rather short list:
- I’m grateful for my family.
- I’m grateful for my health.
- I’m grateful for my relationship with God.
- I’m grateful for my friends.
Yes, these are the biggies … the ones I always start with, too. But if you pay more attention, you’ll find your list of blessings adds up to be much longer in no time at all.
The importance of RADICAL gratitude in life … and not just gratitude for the obvious blessings
So yesterday I started making my list. After listing the “biggies” … and giving myself time to think on it longer, in just a few hours my gratitude list swelled up to a massive number of blessings. Here are just a few:
- I’m grateful for hot water and indoor plumbing and a thoroughly accommodating thermostat that gets the furnace to pump out more heat with just a mere push of a little button. (Sidebar: It’s cold outside where I live and when I imagine my life without these blessings, burrrrrr!)
- I’m grateful for the ample nutritious and tasty food that’s readily available to me. This alone dramatically differentiates how I live from many, many people on our planet.
- I am grateful for warm clothes and shoes and socks (even though I prefer sandal weather).
- I’m grateful for access to health care, no matter how frustrating dealing with confusing insurance policies can be.
- I’m grateful for songs that lift my spirit and make my days a little lovelier.
- I’m grateful for movies that make me laugh … and those that make me think … and those that take me on tours of places I’ve not seen before. I’m also grateful for lightly salted popcorn.
- I’m grateful for washing machines and toasters and refrigerators.
- I’m grateful for spellcheck (please work here!) and my grade school English teachers. I’m also grateful for grammar enthusiasts who’ll kindly point out errors I’m making so I don’t have to fret too much about the mechanics of this blog post.
- I’m grateful for the income that shows up when I need it so I can cover my needs and still share with others.
- I’m grateful for the freedom to live my life as I choose.
- I’m grateful for people who forgive me when I mess up. I’m grateful for people who don’t even notice when I mess up because they’re too busy encouraging me and believing in me.
- I’m grateful for all the people who didn’t believe in me or make my road too easy as this forced me to believe in myself more and grow beyond that which I ever thought was possible.
- I’m grateful for all the people who work to provide me with hot water, indoor plumbing, electricity, tasty food, toasters, and warm clothes.
- I’m grateful for car maintenance magicians who keep my aging beast of a car working.
- I’m grateful for all who serve and protect me from fire and crime and provide for my other health and safety needs. When you think of it, we rely on a LOT of people to live the way we live. How wonderful that they’re there for us!
I could go on and on, but my blessings list isn’t what matters. What truly matters is what does YOUR blessings list looks like? It’s big … I can assure you that … but when was the last time you took inventory of all there is to be thankful for in your life? It’s a little like looking for Waldo … though, frankly, it’s the easiest “Where’s Waldo?” puzzle you’ll ever do!
When you take the time to pay attention … and I mean really pay attention … to all your blessings, your heart will swell with a sense of love and appreciation that’ll change the way you look at your life.
Take the “Radical Blessings Challenge”
Everyone ought to take the “How Many Blessings Can I Name?” challenge every now and then just to get in touch with how great their lives really are. It’s not only an effective way to put your problems in perspective, it’s a powerful message to The Giver of all blessings that you’re truly thankful for all you’ve received.
So, here’s my challenge to you: Pay attention today. Try to come up with at least 50 things that you’re grateful for. Be specific. Be thorough. And get ready to be amazed at what you see!
Wishing you a lifetime of rich and wonderful blessings, J. Marie Novak, Founder of BelieveAndCreate.com
WANT MORE REASONS TO COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS?
Here’s what others have said on the matter:
“When you are grateful – when you can see what you have – you unlock blessings to flow in your life.” ~ Suze Orman
“If the only prayer you say in your life is thank you, that would suffice.” ~ Meister Eckhart
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” ~ Willie Nelson
“The more you recognize and express gratitude for the things you have, the more things you will have to express gratitude for.” ~ Zig Ziglar
(C) 2015 J. Marie Novak Creative LLC