Nearly seven years to the date I saw my house consumed by fire, I awoke to 2 inches of water throughout my home. My refrigerator filter line busted while I was sound asleep. I’m still walking on concrete floors five weeks later, but there is hope… my area rugs were returned yesterday. Delays over what the insurance company will pay and what the restoration company is charging have kept me on concrete. Bummed? I could be – but I choose NOT to be. I have so much to be thankful for. It’s just a concrete floor. At least I have a floor.
Gratitude is the art of being thankful even when life gives your lemons. I’m not saying I have this art form down. But, I know its importance and have been able to practice it many times in my life. In my book Finding Me Again, I wrote about three attitudes that help foster a grateful lifestyle. I decided I needed a reminder – so I thought I’d share them with you just in case you need a little reminder too.
3 Attitudes of Gratitude:
- Live life loosely: To live in a manner that allows freedom of choice and avoids controlling behavior is living life loosely. It is a practice of living life with open hands—not grasping on to anything or anyone too strongly. The blessing you have today may not be here tomorrow. Living life loosely is a concept that fosters living in the present. It encourages the attitude of being thankful for the present moment rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the “what ifs” of the future.
- Is enough…enough? Wouldn’t it be great to feel like you were not in need of anything? Ungratefulness is a catalyst to look for something else, something more. And to never be fulfilled with what you have, with whom you are in relationship, and with what life has brought your way. Authentic gratitude fosters true appreciation for what you do have. Ultimately as you grow appreciation for what you have, you realize that your sense of lacking is, for the most part, an illusion.
- The best and worst go hand in hand. We typically want to see life as hills and valleys. Life is going well, so we are on a hill full of happiness, on top of the world. But when something hurtful or disappointing happens, that mountain experience soon becomes a dry valley. Feelings come and go like waves in the ocean. Emotions such as anger, fear, and happiness arise in response to a trigger and then they subside. We feel frustrated, and then we don’t. We are ‘in love’ and then we aren’t. We feel happy, and then it’s over. To live in a grateful and intentional manner is to accept the ups and downs of life. Living in a grateful manner focuses us on the present and brings more consistent joy and satisfaction. When we cultivate gratitude, we facilitate a stable and positive frame of mind.
We all want to live on the mountain, fearful of the next valley or we dwell in the valley, always prepared for the worst. Feelings toss you back and forth as tides in an ocean. So how do you avoid being a rag doll, tossed here and there by every feeling or want you encounter? Through Gratitude. Be fully present in the here and now and find the good in all things. It’s a choice, and exercising this attitude doesn’t come naturally for most. When we consciously cultivate a positive grateful mindset, the outcome is joy and happiness.
So my concrete floors are just another opportunity for me to practice gratitude – gratitude for a home, a floor and even State Farm, despite my $1000 deductible.