I’m sure you, like me, have heard so many people rave on and on about how wonderful ‘practicing gratitude’ is and how life-changing keeping a gratitude journal is… Which, don’t get me wrong, I totally agree with as an idea or a concept, however I’ve just never really had much luck with getting into it!
I get the concept but it’s just the doing part that I struggle with. And in the past even when I’ve decided to give it a real go, dedicating time and effort to do it and stick to it, the practice just never really lasts, and usually about one week into the process (or even a couple of days in) I’ve totally forgotten all about it.
However, recently I started to wonder why it was that I loved the concept however I couldn’t keep up the practice. And through an honest evaluation I could see exactly where there was a kink in the chain! The problem was that I had been trying to do it ‘their’ way, and I hadn’t ever sat and thought about how I could do it my way! I hadn’t injected ME into the practice!
So letting myself be more free with the whole idea of gratitude, right away I knew that if I was going to do it my way I wouldn’t even be using the word ‘gratitude’. This is because the word gratitude doesn’t really hold much energy for me. I get what it means, but it’s just not a word I use. So then I asked myself what would I use? And right away a word came to me, a word I use a lot, and one that holds so much energy that it’s almost bursting… Love! I love the word love! And in the excitement of this realisation I grabbed a pen and started to write.
I wrote about everything I love about my life.
I wrote about the people I love, the experiences that I love, the aspects of jobs that I love, I even wrote about things that had happened that were hard at the time but I’d learnt a lot through because I could genuinely say (now) that I love that experience! Then I realised how easy and FUN this was! I could feel LOVE inside of my body, growing as I wrote.
I could feel the difference. Gratitude felt almost life-less and was more of a mental task that required thought and a prompt to remind myself to do it. However LOVE, well, each day after that first experience of doing it my way, I was reminded by my body, by the feeling of love inside my chest to ‘practice gratitude’. This feeling of LOVE made me excited to create moments in each day to curl up with my diary and write down what I love.
And from this regular practice I cultivated a lasting frame of mind stemming from love! Now I can more easily see all the aspects big or small that I love about my life, in each day and in each moment. Also, I more easily notice the positives in other people and in the world as a whole rather than the negatives, because my brain is hot-wired for LOVE!
What would it take for you, right now, to grab a pen and paper, or open up a word document and write down what you love about your life?