“Gratitude turns what you have into enough,” my teacher had said.
I started seeing the word “gratitude” over and over again in the self-help books I was reading. I decided I needed to give this whole “gratitude” thing a shot. I vowed to start off each morning by listing five things I was grateful for. At first, as much as I hate to admit it, this was difficult. Whether you suffer from a mental illness or are just going through a particularly rough patch in life, it’s easy to get sucked in to all of the negative thoughts and feelings you have about your life. It can be almost uncomfortable to list off the things you’re grateful for when you can’t see past all of the suffocating emotional baggage sitting like an elephant on your chest.
However, the more I repeated the practice each morning, I quickly realized just how much I had to be grateful for. I was able to easily list off dozens of things on this list—from my family and friends to the smiles of strangers to a roof over my head and clothes on my back.
Gratitude gave me a reason to get out of bed and feel excited about my day. This practice gave me a reason to walk out the door every morning with a smile on my face because, after all, I have so much to be grateful for. Gratitude is not avoiding your problems and pretending like everything is okay. Gratitude is, however, choosing to realize that the world is full of tons of things to be thankful for, large and small, if you’re willing to pay attention to them.
Gratitude does make what you have enough. Every day I’m grateful for my family, for love, for random acts of kindness, new friendships, food on my plate, flowers, a shining sun, and I’m oh-so-grateful to have woken up this morning because not everyone gets to live to see another day. What are you grateful for?
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