So much of how we experience life has to do with our attitudes about people and situations. If we approach life with a negative attitude and expectations, then we’re probably going to have more negative experiences. Having a positive mindset really does make a difference.
A while back, I started writing down at the end of each day something I was grateful for and something I enjoyed about that day. Not only does it help keep things in perspective on the not-so-great days, but it helps me to think more positively and appreciate the good things in my life. There is a lot of negativity surrounding me on a regular basis, so I very much needed to consciously think about the positives. The things I have mentioned that I am grateful for range from big things like my family and friends who are always there to support me and lift me up when I need that to little things like the nice weather or having time to exercise.
Beyond just writing things down, I have been trying to make more of an effort to let others know when I appreciate something they have done for me. I think I have always been relatively good at expressing appreciation, but I wanted to be even better at it. The funny thing is, showing appreciation can be as simple as a smile or hug or saying thank you, but it sometimes seems like there are too many people who have difficulty doing these things. Being on the receiving end of those gestures can sometimes feel so good though, and they can make a big difference even though they are a small gesture.
I think part of the problem is that we’ve developed into a society where too many people feel a sense of entitlement. Instead of people appreciating what they already have, they always feel they deserve more. And they have forgotten to stop and be grateful. We take too many things for granted. I’m sure people were much more grateful for the springtime weather after the harsh winter we had this past year, but we shouldn’t always wait until we don’t have something that we are used to having to stop and appreciate what we do have.
I can’t change the world all by myself, but I can try to set a good example for my kids of how to be grateful, how to show appreciation, how to have a positive attitude, how to be a “we” person and not a “me” person, and how to be helpful and generous to others without expecting anything in return. And hopefully they will see that when you give to others and show appreciation, then other people will be much more willing to give in return.
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