Thanksgiving is the time to incorporate gratitude in your life!
Living a life of gratitude improves our lives and helps to build healthier relationships with ourselves and with others. By offering thanksgiving for all that we have, we set the tone for all that is to come to us. We invite you to join us this Thanksgiving and beyond by giving thanks for where you are at this point in your life.
As we practice gratitude and grow by opening our hearts and minds, we become part of the fabric that connects us to others in a positive way. To better understand that connection, we’re going to do a little exercise to help you recognize where you are currently getting your support from and to consider other support that is available to you, but that you might not yet be taking advantage of. Understanding where your support comes from helps us to be grateful and to express our gratitude to others. It even helps to strengthen relationships.
Here’s a cute story recently shared with me. During this busy time of year, a mother was shopping with her two young boys. Boys will be boys, and before she knew it, they were arguing and pushing each other. Not wanting to condone their behavior, the mother stopped, right there in the middle of the store, and asked each boy to list three things he was grateful about. After they were done, they quit fighting, starting talking and laughing… enjoying each other’s company!! That is the beauty of gratitude. Even as children, these two boys understood and appreciated the support that they receive from each other, from their parents, and from their family and friends. By merely stating what they were grateful for, they were able to immediately connect with each other in a healthier manner.
Understanding our Support (Actual and Potential)
By examining the support from others that we already have and the support that is within reach, we too can create healthier relationships, both with ourselves and with others. So let’s get started. On a large blank sheet of paper, draw a pyramid. Draw two horizontal lines, dividing the pyramid into three layers. Draw a dividing line down through the middle of the pyramid, splitting it in half. On the top left side of the paper, write the word “Current”; on the top of the right side of the paper write the word “Potential.”
Label the top layer “Self,” the middle layer “Family and Friends,” and the bottom layer “Extended Community.”
At the top level on the left side of the paper, write all the current ways that you support yourself. Include things like eating well, exercising, meditating, praying, recognizing God/Source, etc. On the right side of the paper, write all the potential ways that you could support yourself even further. You might write things like be more patient and forgiving, walk in nature, inspirational reading.
In the middle layer write all the current ways that you are supported by your family and friends. Include things like sharing healthy meals, encouraging you to exercise, listening to you when you are frustrated, etc. On the right side of the paper, write all the potential ways that you could be supported by others to an even greater extent. You may want to include things like planning a retreat to a place you’ve wanted to go for years, starting a business, asking for mentoring from someone you hold in high regard.
On the bottom layer write all the current ways that you are supported by your extended community. Include, attending a caring church, living in a neighborhood where people look out for each other, etc. On the right side of the paper, write all the potential ways that you could be supported even more by your extended community. You may want to write things like joining a group of entrepreneurs in a field you are interested in, starting a community project to accomplish something that you really care about, or running for a political office.
Transferring Recognition to Gratitude
Now that you have identified both your current and potential areas of support, think about how your life would be different if you recognized and were grateful for all the support that you currently have. How would your life be different if you utilized even more of the support that is available to you?
Sometimes you need to really look for what to be thankful for. For example, it’s easy to be grateful for big events, that big promotion, the love of your life, etc. What about all the little kernels of kindness? These smallest bits of support are sometimes the basis of support – the sum total of which – can be much more than any one-time individual event. By recognizing, and by being grateful for these small kernels of support, you create a perpetual state of gratitude.
The Benefits of Expressing Gratitude
As you recognize all the ways you are currently supported (the items on the left side of your sheet), take time to feel gratitude for all the ways you are encouraged and strengthened. Isn’t it awesome to have so much support? What have you accomplished in your life as a result of all this support? Be sure to offer a nod of thanks for your accomplishments to-date.
What would your life be like if you added all the extra support you have identified on the right side of your sheet? What bigger visions would you feel empowered to pursue? How might you make a bigger impact on the world? These are just a few questions to consider as you begin to open your heart and your mind to exploring gratitude.
A real life sample of how gratitude can change the course of your life: Darrell Knoch created the Gratitude Coin and offers this coin for school teachers to use to teach expressing gratitude to children. His life exemplifies how the power of intention and law of attraction can interplay to create not only a life filled with gratitude, but a life that touches many. Growing up in the ghettos of Chicago, Darrell was the youngest of seven siblings. His father left the family and his young mother was left to raise the seven siblings. Darrell took five companies to national and international levels and raised billions of dollars in revenue over his thirty-five year career. His goal now is to help youngsters to open their hearts and minds to gratitude by sharing gratitude coins with classmates when they are grateful for an action of a classmate. What was the driving factor of his success? Gratitude.
How can you adopt gratitude for the ability to reach out to people that we can have relationships with and community with? Don’t hold yourself back. Ask for what you want. The power of your intention, your dedication and commitment to your intention, will help you realize your dreams. There is all that support out there, available for the asking. Reach for it! And make your dreams come true.
Image – AdobeStock