Gratitude - Wherefore Art Thou?
Let's Try To Remember To Give Thanks
As I was cleaning the house the other day, I had "House Hunters" on the TV in the background. Now, for those of you who aren't familiar with House Hunters, the program takes a family or an individual who is looking for a new house and presents them with three houses to choose from, of which they eventually pick one in the end. This particular family was shopping in Atlanta, Georgia. They had a budget of about $1.3 million, and were ideally looking for a three car garage, as well as basement room, for their three children. The third house they looked at was beautiful, with a basement the size of my whole house combined. Upon reaching the garage, the wife looked around and said, "Is this a two car garage?", to which the real estate agent replied, "Yes, it is". The wife looked at her husband, crossed her arms, and said, "Now, THAT's a deal breaker".
A deal breaker? I was in disbelief. The house had everything they wanted, and it was bigger than my house and my neighbor's houses combined. But because they couldn't fit a third car in the garage - it was a no go.
I thought about this and thought about this, and for some reason, it really irritated me. It got me thinking about what we are used to in this fast, easy world, and what we take for granted. Now, before I go any further - I need to put out a disclaimer here, that I will end up sounding like a whiney old fuddy duddy. You know the type - "In my day", blah blah blah. But really folks - have gratitude and humility completely been thrown out the window? As an American who has lived in another country before, I am painfully aware of the image that is portrayed to other countries about the lot of us - and of course, this is just a stereotype, but stereotypes ring true for a reason. We are seen as convenience driven, wasteful, and above all, just not understanding how lucky we are. It's not just Americans who are seen this way either - really it's the entire Western world.
It's not our fault. First off, we do become accustomed to what we have. I know I do. If the drycleaning shop isn't open or the card shop opens at ten and not nine, look out! Our convenience has become our downfall. Also, we are accustomed to getting bigger and better things over time - upgrading, if you will. We hear it all the time. "I need that new phone". Well, you really don't NEED it. Unless yours has broken. You WANT it, sure. But you don't NEED it. Either way, we are all guilty of wanting more, and that's ok. But what happens when you get it? Gratitude, and genuine gratitude at that, are your next step.
My husband and I just bought a new house, and you had better believe I give thanks every day. Perhaps not out loud or in front of people, but all the same, I give thanks. I have a house, a car, and a career. Sometimes work can be up and down and I panic in the down times. All the same, I always try to show gratitude. You see, many believe that in giving gratitude, you are like a magnet, attracting positive energy as opposed to negative energy. The more you give thanks, the more you will have to give thanks for. I'm not talking about winning the lottery or drastic measures like that. It's the small things, building up over time, that you will notice.
What am I grateful for? A roof over my head. Good friends. Supportive family. My beautiful cats. The woods in my backyard. A car to get me to work everyday. A job that I need a car to get me to work everyday. Going out to breakfast with my husband. Everything, big and small, is included. Don't get me wrong, I'm not perfect. There are times when I am down and I stamp and pout and get angry about things that didn't go my way. I find that when I am in a state of thankfulness, even if things aren't going quite so well, it really does improve not only my mental state, but my physical state as well. I feel so much better when I have that overwhelming state of yes, things are going pretty good right now. Pitfalls are normal. It's how you get out of them that counts. That is a definite work in progress for me. Recognizing that is half the battle.
So remember - try to be thankful, as much as you can, for the little and the big things in life. It can really change your perspective on the world. Now....if I could just not fall asleep so early at night....then I would be eternally grateful. :)
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