It sounds very noble, doesn’t it?
To practice Gratitude.
It has that wonderful aura of something ancient and mystical.
Like a magical sprite in a fairytale that flits hither and thither, turning darkness into light, pain to joy, sorrow to happiness.
In fact it’s been touted as such a cure-all for difficult times and misfortune that it’s becoming something of a joke. A parody.
Just another ‘new age fad’, like hot yoga, or positive thinking. Or coconut oil.
And I confess, I thought the same. I thought, ‘yeah, yeah – here’s the next ‘secret to life’ that won’t actually make any difference.’
I dismissed Gratitude as a contrived way of looking at life. A ‘comfort blanket’ to pull out of the bag when things weren’t going so well.
A band aid for a bad day. Something for children, not adults.
What to believe?
Skeptical, maybe. Cynical even.
But there is so much stuff out there. So many things we’re told are the answer to all our problems and pains.
And we desperately want to believe them. To believe all we need to do is take the latest, greatest miracle cure for all our ills.
Then magically we’ll be transported to a Disneyesque World where the only problem is how to find the time to count all our limitless blessings.
Pah! Humbug even.
You know what mostly happens?
Not fairytales, Disney or not. But Life. Daily life.
And in life things happen. Some great things. And some not so great.
But on the whole daily life consists of you and me stumbling along our daily routine. No massive ups or downs, no great dramas. Or celebrations.
Perhaps the truth is daily life is rather, well, dull. And it’s hard to be grateful for, well, ‘dull’.
It’s natural to want more than that. To imagine how life could be. To start looking at what others have got, and wanting that.
To look past Gratitude and keep searching, just like I did.
But there was one small problem with all my skepticism and doubt about Gratitude.
I was wrong.
The Big Mistake I Made
But first, let me confess.
You see, I went all out to try and eliminate those ‘dull days’. To switch the ratio of ordinary days to crazy exciting ones and yet still pay the bills, file my tax returns on time and get the laundry done.
It was a good plan on paper. Or in a movie maybe. But in real life?
That’s not how life works. Not being a fictional movie character my daily life simply became more stress than stimulation, more hassle than happiness.
A for effort – D minus for results!
So I switched focus. I decided to make the so called ‘dull days’ my happiest. After all, the ordinary, the everyday, is what life is really made up of.
And if daily life made up the majority of my time on this amazing planet, I was going to make the most of it.
And you know, it was so much easier than I thought.
And it wasn’t a case of simply settling for less. Or of giving up on the good stuff I could see others had.
No, it took turning my thoughts on their head…
Oh, none of us like to admit we were wrong, but I had to.
Because gratitude showed me how to find beauty in the ordinary, the magic in the the everyday and adventure in the routine.
There’s my amazing, real life movie right there in those 3 lines above.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
One thing I’ve also learned is there are as many different ways to be grateful as there are things to be grateful for.
For instance, I don’t necessarily go out looking for things to be ‘glad’ about. I don’t look for the silver lining in every cloud. I don’t believe there always is one.
And I don’t use the phrase ‘at least’ as in ‘at least I have a roof over my head‘ because that feels like pretending I’m not thinking about the parts I don’t like.
Instead, I look for a way to see something that makes me smile in a situation. Or a way that makes me feel good because I looked harder than I might have.
I look for where I can appreciate something but not necessarily have to own it. I seek out joy in the simplest of things in my daily routine.
And I treasure every act of kindness and generosity that comes my way, no matter how small: someone holding the door, the guy packing my groceries who takes a moment to chat, my neighbor waving from her car every morning.
Countless occasions, every day, sometimes every hour.
It’s my version of Gratitude. It might just work for you too. The point is, choose your own way of being grateful.
The way that it isn’t a band aid for bad days or a panacea for all ills. But in a way that brings you peace and happiness in your daily life.
And joy in your so called ‘dull’ days.
To help, here are 12 of my favorite quotes on gratitude. Maybe one or more will help you find the version of gratitude that works for you.
And then you can spread it around like that magical sprite in the fairytale.
Only it won’t be in a fairytale and you won’t need magic.
May your dull days be filled with joy 🙂
Share these beautiful gratitude quotes below and help make someone a believer
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