The Americans have just celebrated Thanksgiving, the holiday that is very close to my heart being raised in the US. We gather with friends and family to celebrate an important time in history when the Pilgrims, in what is now the US, gave thanks for a good harvest that year.
I still remember a lesson my cousin taught us many years back on one of the last Thanksgivings that I was able to spend with my family in the US. "Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, being grateful," she told us and asked us all to go around the table to tell everyone what we were grateful for.
So this year, I find that it’s me ushering both my Love Coaching clients and my kids to consider what they’re grateful for. There are many people I know who spend much of their time thinking and talking about the things in their lives that aren’t working and that they’d like to change. While growing and improving is something I am a very big supporter of (and something I myself am always doing in my own life), complaining about what’s not working on a regular basis is usually not an effective strategy for a successful life.
In fact, most of the people I know who spend a lot of time complaining, actually spend very little time really doing something to change their circumstances.
Some people have simply become accustomed to only talking about what’s not working in their lives. What’s interesting is that those same issues that they’ve always had are still there many years later. Sometimes, the issues even seem to get worse as the Law of Attraction states: like attracts like. Thinking and complaining about what’s wrong and what’s not working, will inevitably draw more of that into your life and you keep paing more attention to it.
This is why gratitude is so important.
When we’re forced to look at what in our life is actually something that IS working and that we feel gratitude for, it introduces a completely different way of looking at our life in general. One of the exercises that I do with my clients suffering from issues of self-confidence, for example, or with issues in their relationship, is force them to look at what they DO like, either in themselves or in their partner. Often, just that little exercise forces a dramatic shift that completely changes the mentality of the person.
That’s not to say that we should rest on our laurels and just be happy with everything we have without ever asking for more. Not at all. Asking for more – and then acting towards those goals – is what drives success.
But we also will never find contentment if we spend all of our time just asking for more. There is a balance that must exist between asking for more and thanking the universe (or whatever force you believe in) for what you’re being given.
Most of us have small miracles coming into our lives on a regular basis. The problem is that we often miss them.
That’s where gratitude is so important.
When we force ourselves to look for what we are thankful for in our lives, we often begin to realise just how amazing and miraculous our life really is.
I always think of my parents and how they speak about each other when asked. After more than 35 years of marriage, they are more integrated and united than ever and each still claims that the other is their ideal partner in life, even with occasional issues that arise and have arisen over time. It may not be possible to have the ideal partner, or the ideal life. But what is within our grasp, is how we look at what we have and what we’ve been dealt, and how we react to it.
The same incident has the potential to be both a blessing or a curse, depending on the perspective from which we look at it. That, in itself, seems to be what makes the biggest difference in how things actually turn out in our lives.
Today, I’m incredibly grateful for my children, my family and my good friends. I’m grateful for all the amazing women I meet who help me realise every day why I do what I do, and a big I give a big thanks to all my clients who have trusted me to take them on a journey of self improvement and self discovery.
What you are grateful for today?
Julia Keller is a DrivenWoman member and group leader; and a transformational Love Coach.