Gratitude is the ultimate gift. It is the one that keeps on giving. By definition gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. I discovered the word gratitude about 6 years ago. It was at a time in my life when everything had fallen apart. I had lost myself, my relationship, and the future I thought I was going to have. Each day was a battle internally, and I couldn’t find anything good to hold onto or look forward to. I was a mess…a broken mess.
Looking back, I guess God saw my pain and desperation and decided to step in and send me a gift. It was probably day 6 of me being in bed when I came across an interview with Oprah. I stopped because it was Oprah on the screen, and I knew she would say something to get me out of the emotional sink hole that I was in. In the interview, Oprah was discussing gratitude and how it almost immediately shifts you to a higher vibration. She shared how she keeps a gratitude journal and that every day she writes down three things that she was grateful for that day. The idea that you could shift your vibration just by being thankful for something every day, no matter how bad your day was, intrigued me. So, I had try it.
I began keeping a gratitude journal (aka the notes section of my phone), and to my surprise, my problems started to not seem so bad. They were still there, but the weight of them wasn’t as heavy. Looking back, I can see now that keeping a gratitude journal helped me shift what I was focusing on. Before, all I could see were my problems and what wasn’t working in my life. In life, what you give your focus to expands. My problems, failures, and heartbreak were exacerbated because that’s all I could focus on. When I started keeping track of what I was grateful for every day, it allowed me to see that there was good in my life. Acknowledging the good filled me with light, and just that tiny bit of light that came in every day lifted me higher.
I recently looked back on what I was grateful for during one of the darkest times in my life, and what I read brought me to tears. Everything I wrote was simple…waking up, seeing my kids’ faces, eating, reading to my kids before bed, tucking them in, the sunlight. Realizing that the things I was most grateful for were the simplest makes gratitude an even greater gift.
Our lives can seem so complicated, and they get compounded by all the things that we think we need or should be doing. Heartbreak, failures, and traumas make life even more solemn. It is with gratitude that we can transcend the deepest pain. Gratitude shifts us out of the past and the future and brings us to the present moment. It brings our focus to what is good in our lives and magnifies it.
If you find yourself in need of more light or a shift in your life, I invite you to start keeping a gratitude journal. It can be on your phone, your computer, a notebook, or a random piece of paper. Every day write down three things that you are grateful for. It truly will be your greatest gift!