Ah, the week of Thanksgiving in the United States. Turkey, pumpkin pies, family gatherings (blood kin and the ones we create) and yesterday’s leftover sermons about gratitude.
Gratitude is incredibly easy to discuss and personalizes so well. “I am grateful for the sun warming my neck, the roof over my head, my family’s health and work that feeds my soul.”
The words swiftly roll off the tongue like a baseball released from a pitcher’s hand.
Not too long ago, one of my blogging colleagues posted an article about substituting the word appreciation for gratitude. I like Angela’s suggestion.
Angela Artemis believes that the words grateful and even thankful have a smidge of desperation and obligation to them. They can also invite feelings of guilt if you don’t repay your debt of gratitude. “The more I think about it, the more I feel that appreciation is a better word to ‘expand what we focus on,'” Angela explains.
What is an Attitude of Appreciation?
There is a spiritual axiom that says what we think about expands. If I’m thinking unkind things about myself, the chances are good that I will attract not-so-good things, and worse, behave with all the verve of someone wounded by her thoughts.
Earlier this year, I wrote a post called “Bringing Guilt to Forgiveness.” One of the things I wrote about was how past instances involving feelings of guilt can completely wreck a perfectly fine day today.
“When you think about it, any present guilt you feel is a byproduct of something that has happened in the past. My ego loves guilt because it can keep a toe-hold on my past supposedly for my benefit.”
What does guilt have to do with appreciation? It’s a rotten juju attitude and it completely blocks the sunlight of appreciation!
An attitude of appreciation generates awe for the expected and unexpected details of your life. Done right and each day becomes one that cultivates hope and gladness no matter outward appearances.
People in my world talk about doing the right thing even if your ass is falling off. That comes from growing an attitude of appreciation.
Shall we move on?
7 Ways to Grow
1. Learn how to dig deep. Fran Sorin’s bestseller, Digging Deep, turns acts of gardening into glorious moments of appreciation. “You tap into the flow of a garden by being fully present and completely immersing yourself to the act of tending. You don’t create flow; your surrender to it.”
2. Learn how to count. I’m reading Julia Cameron’s The Prosperous Heart, Creating a Life of Enough and one of her tenants to retraining the mind to believe in abundance is to count. Money in. Money out. Simple, effective and proven to grow appreciative powers.
3. Learn to lean in. We have a tendency to straighten our shoulders and pull back from challenging situations. People with an attitude of appreciation lean in as if to say, “Bring it on.”
4. Learn to see everything as an opportunity. I’ve heard my friend Tess Marshall say, after something goes wrong or simply doesn’t turn out the way she planned, “Oh well. Who cares? Next?”
5. Learn to let go of any fear you may have about money, or more specifically, not having enough. Yes, most of us are taught at a young age that we have to fight others for a very small portion of “IT,” whatever it is. Let that stuff go! We live in a universe of absolute abundance and if you believe nothing else, believe that truth.
6. Learn to respond with positivity. I just interviewed Justin Luke Riley, president and CEO of Young People in Recovery. When I asked how he was, you know what he said with complete conviction? Justin said, “I’m living the dream.”
7. Learn to be of service to others. Doesn’t matter who you serve or how. Just make sure, as Justin said when we talked, that you never think you’re too good to stack chairs (or empty trash or run a vacuum cleaner).
What are some other ways that you use to grow an attitude of appreciation? Please share in the comments below and if you like this article, I’d love it if you’d tell your Facebook and Twitter fans.
Photo courtesy of pippalou