Ever since Oprah starting talking about gratitude, it has been the go-to for many people. If only we appreciate the things around us, we will be happy.
I have watched numerous TED talks on this point and all the studies seem to say the same. If you are grateful in all things, you are a happier person.
This seems simple. Be thankful for what is around you and you will be happy. Step 1. Step 2. Done.
I'm a huge fan of steps. I love them. Give me a list and I will merrily make my way through it in order to have a sense of achievement so I can show myself and others that I have a purpose. "Look! I did the thing!"
I can do all things... as long as I have a list.
Here is the thing. While I can appreciate all the things around me, it does not always translate into me being anything else than me appreciating things around me. At what point do I have to make it personal? Where it becomes more than just noticing stuff?
I have been challenged, along with being grateful for things, to be grateful for things inside me. Things I can do, things I am, things I think, things I have the capability to process.
That's a lot tougher.
I am thankful I have the ability to write. Not just to put words down in a "See Jane run." way, but to make them flow and tell a story. I am thankful that I have the ability to tell a story, whether it be in my contact notes for work, or a letter to a friend (which I haven't done in a long time), or a blog post or short story. I am grateful for the ability to make words slide and sway and dance into a picture.
I should tell you about the time I made a cup of coffee sound erotic. It was accidental, but quite effective. Considering I was trying to be very serious at the time, my coworkers found it very amusing. Children!
I am grateful for the love of people. Not just that people love me, though that is rather fantastic, but also that I love people. Even when I hate them (which is very, very often) I still love them. I want to do good for people. I do strive for that. I'm not always good at it, but I am grateful it is in me to try and put people first.
I will have to keep thinking on this one. It's a lot tougher than being thankful for sunshine.