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The Power of Gratitude

This is an article written by a client from The Resilience Centre. She shares her experience of how gratitude has transformed her life. Thank you so much for the generosity you have shown in sharing with us all!

 

Thursday the 2nd of May 2013
one – for uncontrollable laughing fits (even if they come at inappropriate times and in inappropriate situations)
two – that mess can always be cleaned up – no matter how big it is

Monday the 10th of June 2013
one – for public holidays
two – for sunsets

Saturday the 12th of October 2013
one – that I live in a safe, secure home in a stunning location
two – that the future is exciting

Tuesday the 4th of March 2014
one – that I have freedom
two – for people with a heart for humanity, working for justice

For me it was two things. Just two simple things. Dots point even. Written, dated and underlined. Two things that completely changed my perspective on life and the world in which we live.

Last March I met a man who told me that he had been writing down two things that he was grateful for each day for the past 37 years. He told me about the profound impact it had made on him and how it had thoroughly altered his relationships, perception and attitude towards living.

Now, It wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before, but I had never really given it much serious thought. In fact, I didn’t think I cared for it at all but there was something about the way this man spoke about the process with such faith and conviction; I couldn’t help but be challenged.

In order to change my life I knew I had to change something I did daily, but I constantly wondered what specifically it was that I needed to change in my everyday life. Or maybe the bigger question/roadblock for me was, “Where do I start?” The growing need for change in my life seemed way too complicated and overwhelming at that point to even start considering modification. But here, in plain sight, was the most straightforward and simplistic solution. The aspect that I needed to change, and the element I needed to add to my daily routine was quite simply: gratitude.

So on Saturday the 30th of March 2013, I decided to give it a go. What did I have to lose? I grabbed a pen and took out my blank Hogwarts style (shout out to all my Harry Potter Fans) black hard cover journal with gold pages, which I had been saving for something special, and began to write. On the first page I wrote, “What are you grateful for today?” on the next, “2 a day keeps the enemy (negativity) away.” What then followed was the beginning of a transformational life journey. There really was no turning back.

I write this as a personal testimony; as an encouragement, in hope that you too may experience the same freedom that I have found in this. I am so eager to let you know that gratitude, being thankful, is, single handedly one of the most important things I have ever discovered. It cleanses toxic thoughts and challenges negativity. It fosters positivity and brings your mind back to the good at the end of each day. It brings life and light into the mundane and thrill into the seemingly insignificant. It’s contagious; a magnet for encountering more joy and it truly turns the ordinary into extraordinary.
Gratitude lays a solid foundation for which healthy life is able to live and thrive off. It has the power to radically shift perspectives, to bring hope back into hopeless situations and to make even the darkness nights bright again. Gratitude builds resilience and may just be the very key to real, raw and true happiness. “It’s not happiness that brings us gratitude, but gratitude that brings us happiness.”

Since beginning this process 12 months ago now, I find myself always seeking, searching for and FINDING the marvelous. I pay so much more attention to detail and walk with my eyes wide open. I don’t just think about it when I write, I live with a constant awareness of and heightened appreciation for the little things. It has become more than just a daily routine, it has become apart of my very being, woven down through the fabric and deeply sown in. It brings me an incomprehensible amount of happiness. It puts a skip back into my step. I have more energy, more motivation and a whole lot more self-acceptance, understanding and self-love.

Regardless of how idealistic this topic may sound to you or not, I want you to know that I do realise some days are hard and that it may not always seem fair I ask you to find anything positive. On these days, where it seems like you have nothing good to write, I encourage you push through and do so anyway. These are the days that it is vital you do unearth those two things – that you do find something to write, even the smallest something in order to bring a light into your darkness. Perseverance is so important here for these are the days you will look back on and see the true strength and character of your soul.
Flicking back through my journal I’ve too had these days; days where I’ve felt like I was standing in the midst of the impossible. However, when I read things like: Friday the 17th of May 2013 – that pain eventually fades, Sunday the 30th June 2013 – that crying cannot physically last forever and Saturday the 6th of July 2013 – that brokenness can be repaired, I don’t feel self pity or sadness – I feel victorious, I feel like an conqueror. How great is it to know that the enemy on his best day isn’t even able to take you out on your worst day?!?

Being intentionally grateful everyday doesn’t have to be complicated. It just needs to be realistic and achievable. For me, as you know, it’s a gratitude journal. For others it’s a ‘Photo a Day’ challenge. For some it may just be as simple as making it apart of a daily conversation with another. If you’re anything like me and are likely to forget, set an alarm in your phone, name it “What are you grateful for today?” and have it go off each day at the same time. After a while it will be so set into your heart that you won’t even need that reminder anymore.

So my challenge to you is to give it a go. Be grateful, in everything – Despite the madness of your day or the pain of your past; despite the chaos of your week or the turmoil currently rushing through your head. Seek the good and choose to go out and find it. Be the one revealing the positives while everyone else around you is tearing down the walls with the negatives. Give thanks for what you have, regardless of whether you feel like its enough or not, and just wait and see if your newfound attitude doesn’t transform your household and workplace, strengthen your relationships and ultimately, change your life. You’ll soon watch the things you thought were “not enough” become more than enough.

Your grateful spirit will not only transform your life but it also has the power to transform the world of those around you.

For me it was two things. Just two simple things. Dots point even. Written, dated and underlined. Two things that completely changed my perspective on life and the world in which we live.

What will those two things do for you?

Christina O'Connell
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