Want to Change Your Life? Try Being Thankful
Welcome to this week’s installment of the Sunday Series. As usual, we will be dedicating this day on the blog to focus on heart, soul, and character issues that we all face.
I have been writing this blog post between spurts of travel that is the marathon of our return from Colorado. Between the snowstorms, flight delays, traffic jams, and lack of food, I have been sporadically writing down this post for you all!
Last night we slept in the airport. Yup: we were airport-sleepers! I took my fur coat, (fake fur, but yes I’m bougie,) stuffed some hoodies in my silk pillowcase and settled in with white noise, but only after performing my Korean skincare routine in the public airport bathroom.
Aren’t we glamorous?
As I was brushing aside a red gummy bear to make my little airport-sleep-nest at 11pm yesterday, I was overcome with a deep feeling of gratefulness: grateful that I have a REAL bed in a REAL home to look forward to. Some people have to sleep on the ground every night, but I am on my way to a comfortable bed.
I bet you know where I’m going with this one: yep, today’s topic is thankfulness.
I know, it sounds like a boring topic: like when your aunt forces everyone to say what they’re most thankful for around the dining table after the Thanksgiving turkey has been demolished.
But what if I told you that the seemingly boring and small practice of thankfulness actually had the power to influence and change your life?
What do I mean by "Thankfulness?"
Have you ever met an extremely thankful person? You know that look of gratitude they have on their face every day, just for living, existing, and breathing?
Yeah, those people are annoying aren’t they? LOL!
But in all seriousness, whenever I meet a truly thankful person who is just floating through life and circumstances with a spirit of contentment, I can’t help but feel like I want what they have: I want to be peaceful, patient, gracious, and well… THANKFUL!
So what is that “thankfulness” exactly?
I think it means practically choosing thankfulness over all other options whenever you can. Choose to give thanks in the morning, actively seek out things you can be grateful for, and mindfully express an attitude of thankfulness, even when you are undergoing bad situations.
Like right now actually! We have been stuck in a full stop, unmoving traffic jam outside of Chicago for over an hour. So what am I choosing to be thankful for? Well, obviously that I'm not the one in the accident, and then that I have time to write this blog for you all!
Thankfulness is seriously more of an action than anything else: it is about practically and actively saying your blessings in your mind or out-loud. It is choosing to see the positive and life giving blessings in your life and refusing to focus on the lack in your life.
Why is thankfulness beneficial to us?
As we’ve discussed in a previous Sunday Series post, when we are not thankful, often we are filled with feelings of envy, bitterness, and resentment towards the things we DON’T have, versus a happy and contented heart towards the things we DO have.
Thankfulness actively takes our focus away from our envy and discontentment. And the great thing about focusing on what you DO have? It makes you feel happy, safe, content, fortunate, and blessed.
Thankfulness can also help you weather adverse situations: I have found that during the hardest, most troubling moments of my life, if I have stopped to be thankful, even for the person who was making me miserable, I had a LOT more guts, courage, and grit to get through the next six months of that trial.
Genuine gratitude and thankfulness can also bless your relationships.
Discovering and reflecting on what I am grateful for makes me a happier, more pleasant person for others to be around! Instead of bitterly complaining or resenting things I don’t have, my friends and family are met with a kind and pleasant spirit to interact with.
Not to mention, when I’m not running around being bitter about my life and what I don’t have, I can find more energy and time within my heart to bless and serve others. Thankful people know the value of their lives and they feel happy with what they have.
In total, thankfulness helps you during trials, it improves your relationships, and it aids serious personal happiness and growth.
But the #1 Reason to be thankful is this...
Okay, so we obviously get a lot of perks by practicing thankfulness, but at the end of the day, there is ONE major reason you should practice gratitude: it grows your character and multiplies your virtue.
As you know, with my work, writing, and series, I always like to focus on how we can improve our character as women (or men) of this world. Our society NEEDS people of sturdy and reliable character. We should take every opportunity to practice character building, and thankfulness is a way we can achieve that.
Thankfulness and gratitude allow you to find peace and contentment no matter your situation: ergo, thankfulness breeds improved character.
People of thankful character have the power to keep their emotions, thoughts, and life in perspective and in a place of positivity. This action allows them to have more energy and life force to love and serve others. Thankful people enjoy the experience of life, see the small bits of love and joy in daily living, and most of all, they are able to experience the powerful peace of contentment and patience in trial.
If for no other reason, choose thankfulness so that you may grow into a person of solid character.
As we wrap up, I just wanted to share this last tidbit: you don’t need to have Kardashian levels of money to be thankful. You don’t need to be famous, powerful, or popular. You don’t need to be a model, a homeowner, or running a successful entrepreneurial food truck (what is UP with all the food trucks lately!?) to be thankful.
Thankfulness completely depends on YOU and YOUR mindset. It is a choice. You can choose to be thankful and see how it affects your life.
Actively look at your life and your day each morning, and pick out 3-5 things you are thankful for.
I cannot promise that this will lift you out of intense depression or painful anxiety, but I can promise you that it will, if only incrementally, improve your happiness.
I hope this blog post inspires you today! Honestly it has helped me get through the worst parts of this crazy trip back to Michigan.