Next week is the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday because it celebrates an attitude of gratitude—one of the most important practices to cultivate your inner-Creator. Gratitude is a choice—-you can choose to be grateful, or you can choose to be ungrateful.
We’ve noticed there is a “gratitude loop” that cultivates gratitude. You may have grown up in a family that did not emphasize being grateful, or worst, overtly criticized and blamed others. Shifting your relationship with life from feeling like life happens “to me” (the Victim mentality) toward an abundant life, full of wonder (the Creator orientation) may be a challenge for you. Applying the gratitude loop will help you do that.
The first step in the gratitude loop is “expect the good.” Here’s a story to illustrate:
A small farming town was facing a terrible drought and everyone knew what would happen to their community if the farmers lost their crops. Someone suggested holding a town hall prayer meeting. Every person showed up and squeezed into their small church to pray for rain. Only one little girl arrived with an umbrella.
Lesson: What you expect is what you look for and are open to receive.
The second step in the gratitude loop is therefore, “willing to receive.” On the surface, allowing yourself to receive might seem selfish. You might think that if you receive the good, you will take from others. This is akin to Victim mentality again, and fosters “there is not enough” thinking.
If you believe there is a limited supply of good in the world you become stingy and shut down your willingness to receive. If you receive less, you are less willing to be grateful for what you have. “I better hoard what I have because there won’t be more,” is a typical voice of Victim thinking. Learning to receive with appreciation and gratitude helps thaw your limiting beliefs of not enough.
Let’s review: The gratitude loop starts with “expect good” which sparks your willingness to “receive”. Now you are ready to give thanks—-to be grateful.
If you are grateful no matter what your circumstances, you are less likely to experience the feelings of victimhood. You will be able to see the gift or lesson to be learned no matter the situation or relationship. The daily practice of gratitude keeps the heart open and humble.
No situation or event is too small to keep the gratitude loop flowing. Recently Donna was stuck in a dark spot and remembered that gratitude can help renew her spirits. She was feeling so bad she had a hard time thinking of anything to be grateful for.
As she pressed herself to think of something she “should” be grateful for, she felt the urge to use the bathroom. It hit her: “I am thankful for my healthy kidneys!”
Remembering that many suffer from kidney disease (including a close friend and colleague), being grateful for her healthy kidneys helped Donna to have gratitude for things she takes for granted. As she appreciated her healthy kidneys she began to see an unlimited number of things she was grateful for and noticed, almost immediately, her mood shifted to a more positive state.
People who give thanks are more likely to recognize goodness in others—-seeing each person as a Co-Creator.
Remember the gratitude loop and its three easy steps: Expect the good, allow yourself to receive, and embrace your appreciation practice. You will be a lot happier and those living with you will be too!