Challenged by Gratitude: Blessed not Beaten

Published On: 16th Dec 2021By 0 Comments

I started 2021 with a seemingly easy personal challenge; to write something that I was grateful for each day and place the, ‘gratitude slips’ in a jar. At the end of the year, I imagined reading through 365 of them in order to end the year feeling blessed rather than beaten.

From the start my mind was set on only writing on things that moved me so I skipped past the, ‘I’m grateful the sun is shining’, ‘I had a good weekend’ trivial stuff and looked deeper. I wanted my gratitude slips to transport me back to beautiful and powerful moments.

Three weeks into my challenge, I unexpectedly found gratitude extremely challenging to align with. Some days I found it easy to write two slips as I woke up in the morning and mused on the day that had passed and yet, I also went through weeks where gratitude would totally elude me. I would stare at my gratitude jar in the kitchen and say, ‘Come on Richard!!’ and yet nothing at all came to mind. Then one morning, while I was staring at my jar, it dawned on me that gratitude isn’t a simple, will, gratitude is a mood.

With this understanding I began to reflect on the days in which my gratitude slips practically wrote themselves. I realised that on those days I had felt the kindness of somebody and/ or had passed kindness on to another. In those moments of oneness, I had stepped into a pure connection with another and had unknowingly aligned myself with gratitude.

Gratitude turned out to not be as complex as I had begun to believe, it was simple. It hadn’t eluded me but rather I had eluded it by looking for her in places that she didn’t live. Gratitude is defined as, ‘the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness’, I understand that now. True gratitude isn’t an external thing, it is internal. The sun would shine in the sky irrespective of my input but I had the opportunity to help somebody else’s sun shine.

I recall my mother always saying to me, “Richard, try have an attitude of gratitude”, well I guess she was right. Gratitude is a mood/ attitude & a way of looking at life. When we step into gratitude, we are able to see the blessings and not the beatings, the beauty and not the bruises.

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