This I know
No bad day that lacks something good to appreciate. There is no season that doesn’t have its beauty. Despite the cold weather of winter, there is beauty in snow, and with the heat of summer, comes the attractive vegetation. 2020 has been a year that will be understandably remembered largely in a negative manner. However, I am convinced that despite the pandemic that has impacted all of us, the social injustices we witnessed across the world, there is still plenty to be thankful for. I know that when we look back on 2020, we will mine a few valuable things that will make for a better future.
For example, with the expedited COVID vaccines developed and deployed, we have broken new grounds in clinical research and development. Also, when experts asked us to change our social behaviors like social distancing and wearing face masks, we learned to endure a little discomfort to make sure we are all safe. We now know that when we care for each other and put our minds to work, we can overcome even a deadly virus. Regardless of how your year was, the pain of losing loved ones, or jobs, you can find something valuable to carry forward. To do this, you have to walk the path of gratitude.
The path of gratitude
The path of gratitude has two critical markers; first faith and hope and a life that focuses on what went right instead of what did not work. The first sign that you are on the path of gratitude is the continued expression of faith and hope for a blessed life. People who have decided to possess a grateful heart and intentionally express gratitude at every turn of their life are optimistic and expect good things in their lives. As a result of having faith and hope, people on the gratitude path focus on what is working and are not stopped with what doesn’t.
Our wiring sometimes works against us when we so easily focus on the negative things around us; we look at the misfortunes of life and ignore the good things that happen to us daily. But we don’t have to be at the mercy of our wiring, we can reshape how we think about what goes on in our life. The best path to transform our minds is by walking on the path of gratitude. The path of gratitude enables you to focus on your blessings. And because we focus on what went right, the path of gratitude protects us from the time-consuming and energy-wasting exercise of complaining. Complaining and gratitude cannot coexist; It’s impossible to complain and be thankful at the same time. As you have faith and hope, focus on what’s going well, and don’t complain as a result of walking on the path of gratitude, the following life-transforming things will happen that will unlock more blessings to flow in your life.
1. Elevate our outlook
Several times I have heard people ask, “how do immigrants come to the U.S from impoverished countries, and after a few years in America, they become financially successful?” As a person who also immigrated from a third world country, I have had to ponder on this question numerous times. The one thing I believe is the main force behind all the success for immigrants, whether the founding immigrants of the US or the contemporary ones is gratitude.
As an immigrant myself, I can confidently say that when people move to the United States, the most successful country in the world, they are filled with a sense of gratitude. They know in this country there are plenty of opportunities that can make their dreams come true. Generally, people who come to the US appreciate the many amenities they enjoy which were not in their countries of origin. Because of their attitude of gratitude, their life’s outlook is elevated. I believe this is why America, the nation of immigrants, is a superpower. But the power of gratitude to elevate our outlook does not stop with immigrants. Anyone born anywhere, including the natives, can elevate their outlook by expressing gratitude.
Gratitude elevates our viewpoint by enabling us to pay attention to what is working instead of what is not. It allows us to count our blessings regardless how small they appear. When we choose to be grateful over a few things, we discover there are many things for which we can be thankful. Gratitude is an expression of the heart that influences the mind to shift from scarcity to abundance.
2. Sensitize us to abundance
If there is one person who would have good reasons to focus on the scarcity of her upbringing would be a young black woman who was born and brought up in Mississippi in the 1950s. However in spite of the poverty and racism of her time she rose up to be the most successful black woman in the world. Oprah Winfrey’s emphasis on gratitude over the years could explain the larger-than-life success, fame, and fortune she enjoys today. She has often advised in her shows, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
Your story is not that of Oprah, but what is true is that you live in abundance. The question is, are you aware of it? Being grateful for the few blessings you have is the key to sensitizing yourself to the abundance that God has released for you to enjoy. When God created the universe, He made sure there were enough resources for you to enjoy significant success. Being grateful also attracts more blessings in your life.
While abundance is realized when we live in gratitude, scarcity is created when we fail to be thankful for what we have. Scarcity of resources is nothing more than failure to appreciate the raw materials you have in your hands such as life. It’s a mindset of focus on what you don’t readily have and ignoring what’s at hand.
The more you operate from a scarcity mindset, the more diseases you create in your life. Diseases that range from poor habits to physical illnesses. But only gratitude can bring healing.
3. Brings Healing
Losing something valuable or failing at something important in life is inevitable. It’s possible to suffer heartache and headaches the moment loss or failure happens. However, it’s not necessary to continue to propagate more heart and mind illness by focusing on what went wrong. You can recover from any pain caused by failures or losses when you seek and find something to be grateful for regardless of how bad things look like. This way, gratitude brings healing to you.
Zig Ziglar said it well, “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” To experience good health, physically, emotionally, or spiritually, you must practice gratitude in your life.
In summary, gratitude is the way to unlock more blessings in our life. It elevates our outlook which prevents us from being consumed by the storms of life and enables us to see great opportunities ahead of where we are today. It makes you aware of the many blessings you have upon which you experience more blessings. And it restores your overall health by enabling you to quickly recover from setbacks.
What’s Next: In the month of February, I will share with you four ideas that will enable you to live your best life. Between now and then, practice gratitude in all areas of your life and you will experience more blessings.