"In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy." Brother David Steindl-Rast

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Benefits or Sacrifices

Today I am grateful for the joy I hear and see in the words and faces of others in recovery. I am also grateful for others who share their gratitude practice and wisdom with the rest of us.

My friend Steve Foran is one such person. He posts regular videos about the topic of gratitude on his website Gratitude at WorkHere is one from about a month ago. I encourage you to pause and watch it. It is less than 3 minutes long. It has to do with what grateful people are four times more likely to do and they aren't even aware of it.

It was insightful to me to realize just how much more I give a "benefits to me" approach to my gratitude lists than I do "sacrifices of others." Some of the over 1600 gratitudes that Steve was looking at on the Daily Gratitudes portion of his website were mine.

It made me stop and think. I have tried to apply his idea in the weeks since, making a concerted effort to include the sacrifices or efforts of others in my gratitude list, not just straight-up what has benefited Lisa lately.

Obviously they go hand-in-hand, but even the subtle shift in mindset helps me broaden my level of appreciation and become more likely to thank others for their part in my good fortune, even if I am not thanking them face to face.

Pausing to appreciate the people who grew and harvested the fruit I am enjoying today makes the fruit a little sweeter. Taking a moment to consider those who keep our streets and roads maintained helps me slow down in more ways than one.

Then I consider how I enjoy being helpful to others. My sacrifices of time and effort can help me be of better service to others. If I am doing it for a pat on the back or recognition, those are misguided motives.

Gratitude practice helps me get out of my self and my ego-driven ways. It helps me feel part of the bigger picture of humanity and it fuels me to give back. When I give of myself in those circumstances, my motives are pure.  I am simply giving back because I am appreciating what I have been given.

So I continue to move through the hours and days, trying to be more aware of those around me, near and far, and how they contribute in positive ways to my life.

Thanks Steve for being one of those positive contributors!

6 comments:

  1. Glad it resonated with you Lisa. I had a similar experience when I analyzed my gratitudes too and have found a noticeable difference in my own gratitudes since. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Interesting to discover some of these nuances of gratitude practice.

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  2. I'm grateful that YOU take the time to write every day.
    Thank you.

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    1. Thanks for reading! It helps make me a better writer to know I have readers who count on my regular posts.

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  3. Thanks for the lead to Steve Foran, I will check it out. I am grateful that you faithfully share your thoughts on gratitude. It is hard to write almost daily.

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    1. It is hard on some days, but on other days I get in the zone and it just flows. Thanks!

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