The ABZs Of Powerful Living

In the alphabetical list of ingredients for powerful living is found a “G” word.  It is the difference maker in so many things.  G-R-A-T-I-T-U-D-E!  It is a word that needs to be practiced more today than ever.

We stand in front of full and overflowing closets and say, “I have nothing to wear!”  We get in our car and travel miles away and complain our butts are sore.  We board a plane and go places our ancestors would have never dreamed of going and complain about delays.  The garbage disposals in most restaurants eat better than 30% of the people in the world.

The word gratitude according to the dictionary means

* An appreciative attitude for what we have received
* A warm or deep appreciation of personal kindness
* A disposition to express gratefulness by giving thanks

Characteristics of a Grateful Life:

1.  A sense of purpose in their lives.

Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress.  They have a reason to get out of bed each morning.  Their gratitude appears to enhance pleasant feeling states more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions.  Grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life.  They understand life is not fair, they don’t expect it to be fair and they learn lessons in all things.  When you have developed a crystal clear understanding that all things work for the greater good no matter how seemingly bad things may appear, it becomes much easier to stay in a state of gratitude.  The greatest pain is pain with no purpose.

2. An appreciation for the people around them.

Grateful individuals place less importance on material goods knowing that success is not measured in terms of possessions accumulated.  They are less envious of others and are more likely to share their possessions with others.   They love people, not things.  They value their friendships, both new and old.

3. A willingness to actively show the gratitude they feel.

People with a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathetic and to take the perspective of others.  They are rated as more generous and more helpful by people in their social networks. (McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002)

“To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action.  Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course.  Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you.  Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.”  Albert Schweitzer

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”  Melody Beattie

Just make up your mind that if you have nothing to be grateful for, there is something wrong with you.

Do you want to live powerfully?  Live with gratitude.  It is a choice!

And these are my thoughts on a Wednesday morning.

Steve Siemens, CSP