"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

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Bragging or Building?

Today I am grateful for the gratitudes shared by others. They always give me more to think about. I am also grateful for the thought-provoking words of other people, even when I may disagree with them. Perhaps especially when I disagree with them.

A comment made to someone and then shared in a gratitude group I am part of really got me thinking over the last few days. I have been turning it over in my head and heart, and I passed it by my husband and son to get different perspectives. I arrived back at the truth I started with. Let me explain.

The comment that got it rolling was someone stating that they felt sharing gratitudes was like bragging and amounted to putting others down. Am I bragging when I share gratitudes?
I certainly don't think so.

And I don't think others are bragging when I read their lists of reasons to be grateful. I usually think things along the line of "thanks for the reminders" or "how wonderful that between us all we can pause and find so many different things to be thankful for" or "there's such energy in these words."

If someone else's gratitudes don't sit well with me, I am the one who needs to look in the mirror. I am the one who needs to work on my own ingratitude.

I find sharing gratitudes to be the opposite of bragging. It is very humbling. I did nothing to earn the fresh air and oxygen I breathe in day in and day out. I didn't create the beauty and awe of nature and the five senses I can use to fully experience that beauty and awe. I didn't do the work that makes it possible for me to simply turn a faucet on and get clean water, hot or cold. And yet these are significant gifts in my daily life. I had little to do with many things for which I have tremendous gratitude.

On the other hand, I work daily to build the grateful mindset I have and that is important to acknowledge. Many gifts freely given. Many gifts intentionally sought out and recognized.

Maybe the person talking about bragging was referring to material things. Sure, material items show up on my gratitude list, but they don't dominate it. People, experiences, nature, health, food, running, writing, music--they more frequently make my list than a nicer, newer item tends to.

Gratitude practice isn't about what you have, it's about how you look at what you have.

Practicing gratitude isn't arrogant. It is grace in action. But it isn't always easy. It takes time and effort. This is a picture of my stack of gratitude journals I have been working regularly to fill over the last twenty-two years. Line by line. Day by day. The one in front is my current journal. Writing in it is one of the first things I do every morning.



I have run 14 marathons. Huge gratitude in each one. Step by step.  Mile by mile. I have been sober for over 10, 000 days. Immeasurable appreciation for recovery and the support of others and a compassionate Great Spirit. An hour at a time. A day at a time.

Day by day, building a better perception of self and surrounding world. Made possible by choosing to look for the daily gifts in life and taking actions to acknowledge them.  Effort goes with the territory of living a life of contribution. The dividends cannot be counted, but they can be felt and embraced.

The truth I started with? Gratitude practice is grace-filled and it works. It isn't bragging, it is building a better life. 

2 comments:

  1. I followed your blog a long time ago and then it disappeared from my list. I don't know why but I'm sure glad I found it. Gratitude changes everything but, for some reason, it is easy to forget or get out of practice. Great reminder....thank you.

    Congrats on 27 years of sobriety!!!

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    1. Nice to have you back as a reader Linda! I need daily reminders and daily practice of gratitude to keep reaping the benefits of more sanity and peace, more energy and compassion for self and others. We will all have our days of forgetting or fighting it, but that's the nice thing about a good habit--we suffer without it and more quickly find our way back to it. Thanks!

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