For several years our daughter Tasha has made it her goal to post on Facebook one thing each day during the month of November for which she is thankful. Naturally I am very encouraged by her goal. I am so glad she, along with our other children, have caught the “attitude of gratitude” that their mother and I have attempted to live by over the last 42 years. (Yes, that is how long my wife and I have been married, as of November 4th – and boy am I ever thankful for that relationship!)
In my humble opinion, there is no other way to be happy in life unless you possess an attitude of gratitude. Without it, you end up with an attitude of entitlement. You start to think the world owes you everything, when in fact, the world owes us nothing. Contrary to what some people may believe, the government does not owe us anything, our teachers do not owe us anything, and our parents certainly do not owe us anything. I can admit that when I was a kid growing up in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, I was quite confused about this. But time is a game changer, along with growing and maturing, and I now realize how very wrong that kind of thinking is.
The fact is, without an attitude of gratitude, we are never content with what we have, so we are never really happy. We always want more. I am reminded of the quote by Charles Spurgeon, “If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.”
So my goal is to live every day in an attitude of gratitude. Here are some ways I have sought to cultivate an attitude of gratitude:
I thank the clerk at the gas station after I have filled up my car with gas. Yes, I know that the clerk should be thanking me, but I recognize that they have provided something I need, and for that I am grateful.
When someone does something for me, I show my gratitude by smiling and saying thank you.
I send a hand-written note of thanks for Christmas and birthday gifts. (I might add that since our children were old enough to write, I required them to write thank you notes, too.)
Because I am always grateful to those who hire me in business, it is not only my custom to say thank you, but I also send a note of thanks (usually via email or text these days).
Since I want people to know that I do appreciate what they do for me, I actively aspire to never take people for granted or to take advantage of them.
Perhaps the best way for me to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, is for me to thank God for every person and situation He allows into my life. I know He knows what’s best for me, so I can be grateful for even the tough stuff that comes my way, which I know will ultimately help me learn and grow.
The list is just to get you starting thinking about all the ways you can show gratitude to others around you.
In conclusion, as you practice an attitude of gratitude, here are just a few of the benefits you may discover when you make it your goal to live life with an attitude of gratitude:
You will be happier with who you are and much more content with what you already have.
You will touch people in a positive way, causing them to think about what really matters most in life.
You will now be satisfied in knowing that you have done the right thing in choosing to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.