Giving thanks isn’t something we only do once a year before discount shopping. It’s something we can and should make an active practice of doing. When we start to overlook the perception the harm, we start to be thankful for the love that we receive from others. The more we actively thank others for the love they give us, the more we recognize and focus on this rather than the negativity that we are used to. We want to acknowledge the good within our lives and dismiss anything we perceive as bad.
There’s a strong correlation between gratitude and overall well-being. Those who practice gratitude find higher levels of joy and optimism. More importantly, gratitude for others strengthens the bonds we already have with other people. Through gratitude, we receive the positive perspective we need to live a flourishing life of love. This is how we become Love. When we thank one another, not for what they’ve done but simply because they exist, we start to see the good in people. When we do something harmful, we learn to be more compassionate because we know something is wrong. The negative action at the moment is not who they are.
Gratitude Journals Aren’t It
This is not a reason for you to go out and get a gratitude journal. In the last few years, I’ve gone through a lot of journals with it not bringing much in terms of happiness. Simply writing that you are thankful for another person isn’t enough. I have to step back a bit because what I wrote in my journal usually had nothing to do with people. I would write something to the effect of, “I’m grateful that the birds are chirping this morning.” That did very little to the heartache I felt because of a miscommunication I had with a coworker the day before. The beautiful day meant nothing to a person with an unforgiving heart. Gratitude isn’t a self-help tool to make you happier. It’s something we do to show genuinely show appreciation to others.
We don’t get the most out of gratitude until we honor and acknowledge others through action. Words are nice, but love is an action. When we thank someone, we should do it in a way that person knows of their connection to us. We should thank someone in a way in which we don’t see or even care about their flaws. I’m not even talking about the people you love only. This goes beyond your family, friends, and coworkers. Everyone deserves recognition for being alive and being their perfect selves.
Be Grateful to the Yourself
When you’re giving thanks, don’t forget to thank yourself. Even though thanking others is something that should be greatly practiced, there will be times when others don’t reciprocate. You shouldn’t expect them to. Their sense of gratitude means nothing if you don’t have an appreciation for yourself. We tend to overlook ourselves, but how proud do you think your past self would be if they looked at you now? It should be easy for us to thank the person who’s gone through all the experiences to make us the perfect person we are today. Someone might find this to be selfish, but I’m here to tell you that it is not.
Appreciating ourselves allows us to widen our respective on our circumstances. We typically look towards others as an example to withstand any turmoil in our life. We have to remember that hurt is all the same shown up in different forms. No one else needs anyone else to realize this. We have to continually remind ourselves that we can concur with anything that we may perceive as harmful because harm in all its forms is meaningless. Whenever we may feel like we are going through an issue, we can use the past as a reminder to tell us that this too will pass. There was much that you’ve already learned from that last experience that you can use here.
Eat that Dessert
When we thank ourselves, we give reasons for the appreciation. When we are able to give reasoning we gain clarity on who we are. The negative thoughts that made us a victim no longer seem important. We feel better connected to our perfection. When we are able to find positivity in ourselves, there’s no need for the inner critic. In all honesty, we need an inner cheerleader. Whenever I perceive a tough day, I grab a dessert like milk tea. I don’t stop there. As I eat that dessert, I think of all the times I showed up as my authentic self even if the day was a tough one for me. Did your parents ever do something special for you to remind you how great a kid you still were regardless of what may have happened that day? I think we should do that for ourselves today. If you need a kid’s meal from McDonald’s it’s time to hit up the drive-thru and thank yourself for being you.