The 3 Gs: Gratitude - Giving - Growth
The three Gs have been referenced several times by gurus of self help and motivation. I can’t recall where I heard them the first time, but they continue to come up in conversation. For me they are presented in order, but they don’t always happen that way. Each contributes to the other as they become a part of your life. I won't attempt to claim them as my own creation but I do claim them in my life. By practicing them daily, I have found peace and happiness in my life that was missing before. I want to share some of my thoughts for your benefit and invite your responses, because it is through community that we all grow.
Gratitude - It all begins with Gratitude. Gratitude is more than just saying thank you, it is a mindset or a way of seeing the blessings in the world around you. Gratitude is a quality of life that affects the quality of life. It does take some effort to achieve Gratitude as a frame of mind as opposed to simply an action. As you develop the quality of gratitude in your life you begin to see things differently.
- You begin to recognize the small pleasures of life; the little things that previously may have been overlooked.
- You begin to see your life as one of Abundance; you recognize your blessedness.
- You begin to be more appreciative of the contribution of others around you.
- Your positive experiences are enhanced and expanded.
In talking to others, they struggled at first to see themselves as worthy or deserving. They could not see the positive in the world around them because they were too lost in self shame. As they began to see themselves as someone of value, they began to recognize the blessings in their lives. I will come back to that process in a later post, but I do believe that Gratitude was a big part of that process of pulling oneself out of depression.
At the start of each day, I begin with a list of things I have to be grateful for. Most days it is a simple mental rundown. I recognize the gifts of others in my life, my health, my talents, etc. Even when I was in some of the worst places in my life, times when I had little and saw myself as less, I found things to be grateful for. I have made written lists and keep one in my journal that I add to every now and then. Some even proclaim the benefit of a gratitude journal where they recap each day in writing. I am not one to journal daily, but I agree that writing does cement thoughts into my memory better than just recall..
As you begin, you may find that a list is repetitive. But there are ways to keep the list fresh.
- Be specific. For instance, instead of being grateful for a person, what did that person do that day that you can be thankful for? “Tony is my friend” is a general thanks. Today, Tony invited me to lunch to meet a business associate that I may learn from and obtain new opportunities through.
- Think of what happened yesterday (or today if you do this at night). I think of specific events, actions, words, etc. that occurred since you last sat down. This morning as I filled my coffee cup, I looked out the window. It was foggy, but the image seemed peaceful to me and caught my attention such that I took a picture. The beauty in creation was worthy of my thanks.
- Make a point of expressing your thanks to a person. You may invite them for coffee or lunch to say thank you or you may take the time to write a letter or email to express your thanks for something they have done for you. Do more than just say the words “Thank You”.
Being grateful is a foundation for a positive view of each day and life in general. It impacts how I view stumbling blocks and detours. It keeps me from falling into dark moods and negative thoughts. Remember that the Practice of Gratitude is a practice, it takes effort and commitment, but the results are worth it.