Gratitude. A simple word yet packed with meaning, memories, and purpose. Although I emphasize how important my family and friends are within my life, the words ‘thank you’ are just not enough. Being grateful is not only shown through words, but can extend to actions and the meaning behind the actions.  I often see gratitude as an emotion and internal state of thankfulness, warmth, and perceived luck that someone sees within in themselves.  The reason for this week’s post, is to extend my gratitude beyond words, and explain the expression I use through my actions and thoughts. It can be a challenge to express how I feel and become vulnerable with emotions, but I know that acknowledging the beauty of others is important.  Without these individuals and monumental events in my life, I would not be on the incredible journey and adventure that I am on now.  You may have noticed that the blog title is a little different, because I see gratitude as a dimension of richness that encompasses a sense of happiness, acceptance, and fulfillment.  It can be spelt with two ‘l’s, because I see it as a way of being truly full and open.  Have you ever had that feeling within your heart, body, mind, or stomach (especially after eating a good meal), when you feel this coziness and content?  You may not see that feeling in the same way I do, but however it feels to you, that is how I treat gratitude.  Full of compassion, warmth and endless support that radiates from the people around you, and into your own life.  

Although there are specific holidays that solely focus on expressing gratitude and thankfulness, I think gratitude is more than just a day on a calendar. We can often forget our own purpose if we continue to take each day for granted, but I think our daily adventures are much more than that. Thanking people through your actions are exponentially more impactful than just a simple ‘thank you’. People will remember how you make them feel, and will keep that for the rest of their lives. Over the years, the impact of peoples’ actions has taught me some valuable lessons and made me realize how every moment we have is extremely precious. Whether it was a negative or positive experience, I am still grateful for what happened because there was a valuable lesson embedded within it. In the moments of negativity, it may seem as though there is only a sense of helplessness and lack of hope but a silver lining will appear sooner or later as an outcome. Our mindset that we adopt in each situation is so important for the future, because it will either build our strength or break it down.

Sometimes we can forget the positive and vibrant things within our lives, because we become overly consumed with all the things we don’t have. Our tunnel vision may prevent us from realizing the incredible people, items, and events that are currently surrounding us, because our focus is on what we are missing. In all honesty I have felt this before, and it can leave us in state of constant comparison, internal struggle, and physical distancing from others. The things that we envy, crave, or desire may not be what we need for ourselves, yet our minds continue to tell us that we should strive to have what someone else has.  We may lose ourselves, our purpose, and sense of self, if this harmful process continues. Take a step back and think about the 10 things that you cannot live without.  If you were in need of help, support or someone to lean on, who would be there for you in a second?  It takes these little reminders to bring us back to what we have, and make us realize how lucky we each are.

This mantra continues to be repeated multiple times, but ‘living in the moment’ is so important when it comes to gratitude. Appreciating what we have each and every day is critical to enjoying those important life moments and unforgettable memories. What I continue to practice every day, is to remind myself of one thing that I am happy and grateful for. It could be something as small as acknowledging the people that care and support me, each and every day. Without their compassion and heart, I wouldn’t be driven to spread happiness and positivity.  I always connect my values and purpose to the people and things that I surround myself with, because they play a large role in how I live my life and drive the passion I have for my future goals.  Many of my experiences within these last few years, have opened doors to larger opportunities that I would have never envisioned for myself.  At a time in my journey where I didn’t have much confidence in myself and worried more about the future rather than living for the moment, I have been very fortunate to have a support network throughout this time. There comes a time when the timing of these events really affects our choices and opportunities.  

Our level of gratitude is often limited, because we don’t always appreciate something until it is gone or taken away from us. As you wake up, think about what makes you get up each morning and challenge you to greater measures. What are you grateful for?

Sending sunshine your way,