You know those people who seem to be happy all the time? If I’m being honest, they used to really annoy me. From the outside, it seems that nothing ever goes wrong for them. How do they get so lucky?
As I’ve grown and matured I’ve discovered that luck is not much of a factor here. Everyone has challenges in life.
Over the years I’ve gotten to know these people. These people know that their choices are greater than their circumstances. And one of the most important choices they make is to live a life of gratitude.Gratitude is not so much a feeling as it is a habit. Click To Tweet
Gratitude is not so much a feeling as it is a habit. And if you’re anything like me, it can take a while to develop this habit. But when you do, I promise it will rock your world.
I’ve written about my daily gratitude practice many times before. But it’s been a theme in my world lately. So I thought it was time to revisit the subject.
This past summer, I decided it was time to take action on one of my someday goals and finish visiting every state park in Minnesota. I’ve been documenting my journey on Instagram using the hashtag #hollygoeswild.
Recently I found myself worrying that I’m becoming one of those annoying people who are happy all the time and feel the need to broadcast it to the world. Or worse, was I becoming one of those people who filter their lives to look perfect on social media, but are actually miserable?
There wasn’t a particular incident that sparked my worries. I’m naturally a worrier and I take my integrity very seriously. I never want to fudge the reality of where I’m at in life. At the same time, I always try to keep things positive.
After some contemplation, I realized that I had nothing to worry about. The only filter I’m using is my perspective.
We all have the ability to choose our perspective. I choose to be grateful. And you know what? All of those other people who seem to have an amazing life and are happy most of the time have made a similar choice. Here are a few examples that helped me get my worries in check.
My friend Mike recently launched a podcast. He’s starting by telling the story of how he got to where he is today. Mike was raised in very challenging circumstances. Listening to his story evokes a whole range of emotions: anger, empathy, sadness, and sometimes I just laugh out loud.
One of the things I’ve noticed in each episode is his sense of gratitude for the people and situations that shaped his life. Specifically, this episode where he expresses gratitude for a principal who offered him grace and a friend who showed him what a family could look like.
I imagine there are some people who look at Mike’s life and think, man, he got lucky. But it’s his choices and perspective that offer him this grateful life.
Mama Says Namaste
My friend Ashley is RVing the US with her family, the Field Trip Gypsies. As she says in her podcast, “every day is a field trip.” Isn’t she lucky to live such a life?
Like Mike, she worked hard to get to this place. And it’s not always easy. They’ve had multiple breakdowns, delays, injuries, illness, and minor accidents. Life happens to them, just like the rest of us.
In good times and bad, Ashley always has an attitude of gratitude. I hear it in her voice in the simple things. Like in this podcast episode where she’s talking about how beautifully her husband, Nathan, prepares their meals.
Gratitude isn’t just for the good times. Gratitude can be found during times of trouble and everyday moments. Ashley’s life is beautiful because she chooses to see the good in each day.
I love to listen to the stories and backgrounds of the ultra-successful, like world-renowned chef Eric Ripert. It’s easy to look at these people and assume that they had something I didn’t have. A better family, more money, a better education, more opportunity … the list goes on.
As I listen to their stories, I find that this is rarely the case. Growing up was far from easy for Ripert. But throughout this interview with Tim Ferriss, he expresses gratitude for his experiences and what they taught him. And similar to my daily gratitude practice, he shares that his first act of each day is to express gratitude for being alive.
I share these three podcasts because I just so happened to listen to all three of them in a row. It was during that time when I was questioning the story I was sharing. These three people helped me to see that my only filter was my perspective. They helped me realize that having a perspective of gratitude is always a really good thing. Some may even say life-changing.
What practices have helped you to cultivate gratitude in your life?
Share in the comments below.