If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily.
A week or so ago I sent out a note to friends thanking them for helping my Kiwanis Club make a difference in the lives of hundreds of children in my community. Because of fruit and snacks provided by my fellow members kids who have no permanent living arrangements and who have little go home each day with something to eat. There are kids standing on corners in frigid weather in warm coats and shoes because our club bought them winter gear at Christmas. The list could go on but you get the idea. What my friends did and are doing again is donating items and even cash to support our annual dinner and silent auction that helps us raise the money we use to build a better life for those we can help. So you can understand why I am grateful that my friends help us help others.
As I look back over the last twelve months with the serious medical challenges I had I have more than enough reason to be grateful to all that helped me back to health. I am also grateful for the many who stepped in to do what I might have done if I had been able. Over the past few years I have come to have a greater appreciation for the folks that are always there offering a helping hand when needed and friendship during both good and bad times, So my friends, thanks, I am so glad I know you.
One of the positive things you can do for yourself is to decide that you will make gratitude a priority in your life. If you do the world will seem brighter, friendships will be reinforced and new ones belt and you will have a great antidote for the negatives that often bog us down. Here are excerpts from a Zen Habits article that can help if you want to get more enjoyment through your appreciation of others.
How to Live a Life of Gratitude
The thing is, simple acts of gratitude don’t cost you much (especially once you get over the initial discomfort some people feel with thanking others). But they can make a huge difference. If you’re interested in living a life of gratitude, here are my suggestions:
- Morning gratitude session. Take 2-3 minutes each morning to give thanks, to whoever or whatever you’re grateful for. You don’t have to do anything, other than close your eyes and silently give thanks. This one act can make a huge difference.
- Say thank you. When someone does something nice for you, however small, try to remember to say thank you. And really mean it.
- Call to say thanks. Sometimes you might think about something nice that someone did for you. Perhaps you remember during your gratitude session. When you do, pick up the phone and call the person, just to say thanks. Let them know what they did that you’re grateful for, and why you appreciate it. Takes a minute or two. If it’s too early to call, make a note to call later. Even better is telling them in person, if you happen to see them or if they’re on your route. Almost as good is a thank-you email — keep it short and sweet.
- Give thanks for “negative” things in your life. There’s always two ways to look at something. Many times we think of something as negative — it’s stressful, harmful, sad, unfortunate, difficult. But that same thing can be looked at in a more positive way. Giving thanks for those things is a great way to remind yourself that there is good in just about everything. Problems can be seen as opportunities to grow, to be creative.
Do not take anything for granted — not one smile or one person or one rainbow or one breath, or one night in your cozy bed.
He said he is glad he is a guy because:
He doesn’t have to clean his apartment if the meter reader is coming.
He can quietly watch a game with a buddy for hours without ever thinking “He must be mad at me.”
He doesn’t don’t mooch off other’s desserts.
He can drop by to see a friend without having to bring a little gift.
If another guy shows up at the party in the same outfit, we just might become lifelong friends.
I am not expected to know the names of more than five colors.
I am unable to see wrinkles in my clothes.
“This customer service job would be a breeze if it weren’t for all these whiney, pushy, complaining, help-me-now, customers.”
English is not an easy language. Something that’s close to what you might want to say could mean something completely different. Here are some actual things spoken or written by foreigners who are a little rusty on their English.
“The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.” — A sign in a Bucharest hotel lobby.
“Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.” — From an advertisement by a dentist in Hong Kong.
“It is strictly forbidden on our Black Forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for that purpose.” — A sign posted in Germany’s Black Forest.
“Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11am daily.” — A sign in a hotel in Athens.
“The manager has personally passed all the water served here.” — A sign in an Acapulco hotel.
Due to a shortage of devoted followers, the production of great leaders has been discontinued.
Sally had three very active boys. One summer evening she was playing cops and robbers in the back yard after dinner. One of the boys “shot” his mother and yelled, “Bang! You’re dead!” She slumped to the ground and when she didn’t get up right away, a neighbor ran over to see if she had been hurt in the fall.
When the neighbor bent over, the overworked mother opened one eye and said, “Shhh. Don’t give me away. It’s the only chance I’ve had to rest all day”.
My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.
She said that at:
Age 3: Looks at herself and sees a Princess!
Age 8: Looks at herself and sees herself as Cinderella / Sleeping Beauty.
Age 15: Looks at herself and sees herself as Cinderella / Sleeping Beauty / Cheerleader; or if she is PMSing, sees Fat / Pimples / UGLY (“Mom, I can’t go to school looking like this!”).
Age 20: Looks at herself and sees “too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly” — but decides she’s going out anyway.
Age 30: Looks at herself and sees “too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly” — but decides she doesn’t have time to fix it, so she’s going out anyway.
Age 40: Looks at herself and sees “too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly” — but says, “At least I’m me,” and goes out anyway.
Age 50: Looks at herself and sees “I am” and goes wherever she wants to go….the hell with the doctors.
Age 60: Looks at herself and reminds herself of all the people who can’t even see themselves in the mirror anymore. Out she goes unafraid of the world, seeks new experiences.
Age 70: Looks at herself and sees wisdom, laughter and ability. Goes out and enjoys life….. and enjoys being her.
Age 80: Doesn’t bother to look. Just puts on a purple hat and goes out to have fun with the world.
Maybe we should all grab that purple hat a little earlier.
The world has enough beautiful mountains and meadows, spectacular skies and serene lakes. It has enough lush forests, flowered fields and sandy beaches. It has plenty of stars and the promise of a new sunrise and sunset every day. What the world needs more of its people to appreciate and enjoy it.
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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