Gratitude: Changing Our Thinking

“If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gratitude: Changing Our Thinking ... Bees appreciate the flowers that give them nectar...

Today, on my way to a meeting, I stopped at the security desk to show my ID. There was a short line and I noticed that each person just handed their ID to the security guard on duty, and without a word of hello or thank you on either side, sauntered off into the sunset… focused on a meeting or two. “I know it’s 9:00am but why can’t we even acknowledge each other?” I wondered. When it was my turn, I offered a cheerful good morning and, smiling broadly, handed him my ID card. Without even a glance, the guard took my card and saying not a word, copied the necessary information and then, unceremoniously handed me back my card.  My call to have a pleasant day was also ignored…

#Trust30 is an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge. The #Trust30 Prompt: At any given point in time, you’re only one thought away from changing your thinking. What thought can you change today?

As I walked off to my meeting, I started to think about what struggles and frustrations had taken the joy out of his job/day.  I wasn’t angry at him just sad that in a tough economy where many can’t find work, he chose to not see the blessing in having a job. If he didn’t like the job, a cheerful attitude or a new way of thinking about the job could bring wonderful opportunities his way. Like Brian Tracy once said, “Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” Unless we change how we think about our current situation, by seeing the blessings in it, we won’t notice the new doors that are opening for us. As the prompt above suggests, we can change our thinking …  it takes a little effort.

“When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears” Anthony Robbins

Gratitude: Changing Our Thinking ... Gratitude = Happiness. what more do we need?

Gratitude by Lucy Maud Montgomery (via famouspoetsandpoems.com)
I thank thee, friend, for the beautiful thought
That in words well chosen thou gavest to me,
Deep in the life of my soul it has wrought
With its own rare essence to ever imbue me,
To gleam like a star over devious ways,
To bloom like a flower on the dreariest days­
Better such gift from thee to me
Than gold of the hills or pearls of the sea.

For the luster of jewels and gold may depart,
And they have in them no life of the giver,
But this gracious gift from thy heart to my heart
Shall witness to me of thy love forever;
Yea, it shall always abide with me
As a part of my immortality;
For a beautiful thought is a thing divine,
So I thank thee, oh, friend, for this gift of thine.

At my meeting, I decided to truly listen to everyone present and acknowledge their point of view. If you attend meetings a lot, you know that there is always a contrarian present, and the usual suspects who want to either push their own agenda alone or digress. Today, instead of irritation, I chose the path of appreciation. Each person had a need and deserved to be heard; we were all there for a common goal. Above and below, I have added a few poems and a story on having an attitude of gratitude and I hope they speak to you the way they did for me. What thought can you change today?

“Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can – there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.” Sarah Caldwell

Gratitude: Changing Our Thinking ... Bao'en - a gratitude pagoda in Sichuan, China

i thank you God for most this amazing  by e.e. cummings  (via Americanpoems.com)
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening inimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

I Am Thankful by Anon (via inspirational short stories.com)
I am thankful for the wife who says it’s hot dogs tonight because she is home with me and not with someone else.
For the husband who is on the sofa who is being a couch potato because he is home with me and not out at the bars.
For the teenager who is complaining about doing dishes, because he or she is at home, not on the streets.
For the taxes that I pay, because it means that I am employed.
For the mess to clean-up after a party, because it means that I have been surrounded by friends.
For the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means I have enough to eat.

For my shadow that watches me work, because it means I am in the sunshine.
For a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing, because it means I have a home.
For all the complaining I hear about the government, because it means that we have freedom of speech.
For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means I am able to walk and that I have been blessed with transportation.
For my huge heating bill, because it means I am warm.
For the lady behind me in church that sings off key, because it means that I can hear.

For the pile of laundry and ironing, because it means I have clothes to wear.
For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day, because it means I have been capable of working hard.                                                                                                   
For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means that I am alive.
Finally, for too much email, because it means I have friends who are thinking of me.

No matter what our daily struggles are, we can find things to be grateful for, and find ways to change even one thought or perspective we have about  life. I know this approach has helped me in more ways than I am willing to share here… For that, I am grateful to God and to all people who wish others well.  What about you? What are your thoughts? What thought have you changed recently? Do you find that your attitude of gratitude impacts your day and how? What other things would you add to the list? Do share! Thank you. ;-)

This post was inspired by a prompt from RalphWaldoEmerson.me: At any given point in time, you’re only one thought away from changing your thinking. What thought can you change today?

Positive Motivation Tip: When we change our thinking and embrace an attitude of gratitude, we notice that things bother us less and opportunities for joy manifest.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos Bees in Flora by Richard Bartz Gratitude meets Happiness, and Bao’en Pagoda via Wikipedia.

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

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28 responses to “Gratitude: Changing Our Thinking

  1. Great post, thank you :-)
    Often we are in situations where we believe we can’t do anything to change them, where we have nothing to give – we can always change our attitude, though, to gratitude and kindness. Maybe many people don’t understand and make use of the power of gratitude because it seems too simple to be true?
    I’m wondering whether your meeting turned out different this time?

    • I agree. We can make the effort to shift our thinking regardless of the circumstances. I think we tend to make excuses for our behavior when a simple acknowledgment of our stuff is all that is needed. I was in a building where welcoming people matters. I’d been there several times before and the security staff always greeted everyone walking through that door.
      The lesson was for me too as it got me thinking about what became a post. We live in a world with other people and we need to be present=conscious especially when we serve the public.
      Yes, the meeting went extraordinarily well. Thanks for asking… I walked out feeling quite lifted. I made a mental shift and it worked. :-)

  2. Hey just a note in defense of the security man, it is our job to not talk to the customers, clients, vendors. But if they engage in conversation we keep it brief. I am in this field so I hope this helps. I love what you offered and shared. I know we all should be grateful to have a job. I quit my security job because the company shuts down the air conditioning and after 8 hours of no air, I swell up and dehydrate. It’s like 110 degrees and the three (now) men working there gave me credit for sticking it out as long as I did. The new employee-guard- said, “this is not job for a woman.”

    • I hear you Jackie,
      However, I was in a building where welcoming people matters. I’d been there several times before and the security staff always greeted everyone walking through that door. There was no conversation, just a friendly good morning from me. He made no eye contact nor did he show any interest in being on the job.
      Whatever his reasons were, I do hope he finds a solution that will help him move forward.
      I hope you are doing better… TY! :-)

  3. It is amazing how we walk around in a bubble and never notice or appreciate those around us. Nice post. Miriam

    • Exacto! The problem with the bubble is that if we don’t snap out of it, it becomes a hard shell and then a wall blocking everything in its path. It takes effort to connect with others … positive connections are healthy and necessary. I agree. TY :-)

  4. Great post. Everything comes down to the choices we make; we can choose to let a bad incident ruin the rest of our day, or we can choose to have a good day in spite of it – it’s entirely up to us. We can always find something to be grateful for – if we choose to.

    • I concur… We all know that whenever we step out of our home/personal space, we open the door to the possibility of having all kinds of encounters; good and not so good.
      It is our choice to learn from the good, and appreciate the lessons from the not so good so we can avoid exhibiting the same behavior. Ultimately, it is up to us to choose to be grateful or not. TY! :-)

  5. Great post! It is so true…gratitude opens up so many blessings :-)

  6. misswhiplash

    Wonderful words! I had an experience similar to yours with the security man. I went into a supermarket, went to the check out, all happy and breezy. I said ‘good morning’ to the cashier and got a grunt in return. So after paying I went out of the shop, went next door to the florist and bought some daffodils. back to the supermarket up to the cashier who had served me and said’ These are for you to brighten your day’ . A great smile came on her face, but my reward was greatest! I had made someone smile!

    • Good thing she appreciated the gift and you had the convenience of the flower shop next door. ;-)
      The exchange I had made me recognize that there is a clear lesson for us; that even when we are the recipients of negativity, we don’t have to go there and stay a while. We can choose to see that our joy is not diminished by the actions of another, until we choose to believe it is… TY! :-)

  7. I always try to be grateful for what I have, and I always smile at strangers and thank those who serve me in some small way, like that security guard. Some stay miserable; perhaps they are caught off guard. I like to think they’ll smile back at the next person who smiles at them.

  8. I wish that security guard could somehow get a hold of this article… There are some who are contented, even in little..and there are those who have way more than they need and are constantly miserable. Attitude is so important..but little becomes much (literally multiplies..) when we show gratitude…we should indeed keep counting our blessings.

  9. Without even a glance, the guard took my card and saying not a word, copied the necessary information and then, unceremoniously handed me back my card. My call to have a pleasant day was also ignored…
    +
    I would like to give a smile back to you …

  10. Doing my best to walk in gratitude every day, I found this post hit close to home. It is good to have a reminder in another’s words of what I believe to be absolutely true. “Every day’s a good day, some are just better than others”.

  11. Thank you for another wonderful post. I have learned that gratitude is an essential ingredient for one’s well being and good health. Developing an attitude of gratitude years ago literally saved my life. BTW, loved the first photo! Loved it!!!! Again, thanks for a great post.

    p.s. thanks, too, for the trackback! (perpetualgratitude.wordpress.com)

  12. There is so much unhappiness and frustration in the world. But it’s not always necessary. One of my favorite quotes, “Life is10% what you make it and 90% how to take it.”

  13. We control our perspective. I can chose to dread my up-coming water bill, or be thankful we have water and are not treking three days with food or water in the Horn of Africa drought.

  14. I tend to be a pessimist, so I have to work really hard to change my thinking at times – thanks for this wonderful inspirational post! What we think determines how we feel!

  15. Attitude not aptitude determines altitude. The more grateful we are, the happier we are. :D

  16. The tougher things get the more I return to gratitude for balance. Loved this post Eliz.
    Thanks!
    b

  17. I’m thankful for the smelly sewage treatment plant down the street because it means I have clean water! Thanks for a the reminder.
    xo

  18. Wow! I really liked the anonymous one. It is easy to see gratitude as an abstract notion but then not know exactly how to apply it to daily life! I am grateful for my high phone bill, because it means I am staying in touch with my loved ones!

  19. Nice Post! Sometime people just do not know how to appreciate. Or may be some people are too tired already so that they have no power to give smile to others :p
    Still it is our choice, so regardless what people do, keep be our self and give them smile.

  20. Another wonderful post! I always try to be friendly when ever interacting with others, you never know what they are going through, or what battles they are fighting. There is always something to be grateful for, getting up in the morning, the clean air to breath, the water we have to drink, every day is a blessing to be thankful for.

  21. Pingback: Reflections: Ten Things To Be Grateful For Today… | Mirth and Motivation

  22. Pingback: Embrace Fate #trust30 | Miriam Gomberg

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