For this first blog on Gratitude I must admit that I struggled a bit with which angle to take gratitude from. There are so many ways to think about gratitude. Gratitude can be shown internally; towards oneself or a feeling one has within him or herself or externally; towards others or towards something intangible – this is what makes it complex.
Although intangible and a bit abstract, gratitude is both something we show and something we feel and I think it is the abstract nature that makes something so simple to give and show be also so complex to write about. Gratitude also has a spiritual component for many and this can it make it even more complex as some see being gracious or having gratitude creates an obligation for us to give back or pay forward.
Future blogs will focus on the benefits of showing gratitude towards yourself, at home, at work and to colleagues and how this contributes to personal and organizational success, but today’s blog is on simply being grateful for today.
In many places across Canada today many people awoke to a lot of snow and may have said or thought “Ugh…more snow, this has been an awful winter, I am tired of the snow, when will it ever end?” The weather has been a major topic in the news and of conversation on almost a daily basis. Driving takes longer than normal, the roads may be dangerous for driving, you may get to work later than normal, your bus may be late, your kids’ school may be closed – for many this amount of snow causes a lot of frustrations. The ongoing snow and cold and at times frigid weather (-20 degrees Celsius + wind chill) has people at their wit’s end. Their tolerance for the cold and snow for the past 2 months is pretty much gone.
Now just think about last week’s blog on attitude and re-framing your thinking. Re-framing your thinking to having an attitude of gratitude is very powerful. Being grateful for what we have rather than frustrated by the inconvenience of snow and cold will change your outlook and how you feel when you wake up on a day like today. On a day like today there is so much to be grateful for. Grateful that you can see and feel the cold and snow, for the beauty it creates, that you have a job to get to and maybe a car to drive, that your children have access to education and teachers, for the opportunity to get some exercise while shoveling, and for being able to enjoy watching or listening to kids play in the snow, I could go on but you get the idea.
I must admit that I started today complaining that there was more snow and when the weatherman said another 10 cm today I thought to myself “What? Even more snow!” And then in addition to that I had a mildly challenging discussion with a colleague, I thought this could become a tough day. As I was outside shoveling, which seemed like a futile effort I decided that today’s blog was going to be on ‘being grateful’, being grateful for the snow and for my being here and being able to enjoy it and for all of us being here to enjoy. And I was also going to be grateful for what my colleague had to offer, his openness to discussing and for us being able to come to a suitable resolution.
Having an attitude of gratitude is a choice and yes, sometimes it can be tough when you are having a challenging day but this is exactly when you need to re-frame your thinking, and develop a positive attitude by feeling or showing gratitude. For today, it definitely made a difference for me.
I encourage you to find that something today to be grateful for and think about it for a while – you will feel better and the weather outside will definitely seem a bit warmer. Commit to this approach to feeling gratitude each day and it will support you in achieving your excellence.
Melody Beattie’s definition of gratitude sums it up best.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Commit to giving it a try.