“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I began a daily “gratitude journal” several years ago where I would write down the 3-5 things that happened within the past 24 hours that I was especially grateful for. It started as a 21-day challenge that was nothing more than a simple bullet list of specific items. Over time this became an exercise of deeper and more reflective journalling. Invariably “life” would take over and I’d miss a day, then a week because of the time it took to write all the pages that I now expected myself to produce. So I stopped. Why? Because I created an expectation of myself that missed the point of the exercise entirely. I made it formulaic instead of remaining connected with the essence of the exercise. It was a religion versus a spiritual connection.
Why do we humans do this? Why do we take the simple and make it complicated and overwhelming? Maybe I am the only one who does this but I don’t think so. I see it happen at work, I see it happen in my personal life. I see it happen when I am not taking time to be grateful for the good things that are there and instead focus on all the ways I think things should be. Make no mistake, it is okay to be discontent with the status quo. In fact, I think it is AWESOME to be relentlessly discontent with the status quo. But don’t sacrifice thoughtful gratitude in an effort to get better. Gratitude is a launching pad for even greater things…