Appreciate What You Already Have

This is Part 5 of my Motivation Mojo series:

  1. Ramp Up Your Motivation Mojo
  2. Tune Out Your Negative Mind
  3. Tune Out The Naysayers
  4. Tune Into Your Positive Mind

It’s easy to get caught up in wanting without giving any thought to being grateful. And it’s also easy to overlook the point of showing gratitude in the first place.

I’m not a ‘religious’ person but I definitely believe that gratitude is an integral part of a goal-oriented person’s day. Not only do you give thanks for what you’re going to get, but you appreciate what you already have by stopping to say ‘thank you’.

In that moment of thanks, you connect with God or the Universe (depending on your beliefs) and allow your mindset to shift to one of abundance and bliss. In that moment of thanks, only happiness and bliss exists. How can we not want to experience that, over and over again?

Flip The Way You Look At Things

‎”If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” ~ Frank A. Clark

You may be sitting there shaking your head, saying, “That’s all well and good, Anilia. But I have a stack of bills so high they’re falling off the table. I don’t know where the money’s going to come from to pay them. My car’s on it’s last leg, my boss hates me and I haven’t had a date in 3 years.”

If that’s similar to your life, then yeah, you have a lot that’s weighing on you.

But you have a lot to be grateful for.

I’m not trying to preach at you and make you feel like your mother did, when you expressed disinterest in something you were given. My only point is that we are already blessed beyond measure, and we should pause during our constant striving forward to appreciate where we are in our journeys to success.

It is essential that a person learns how to look at the bright side of life. I tend to be a modern-day Pollyanna and admit that I am not at all realistic. Because honestly, where does being realistic get you?
Where would we be if Martin Luther King, Jr. had been realistic instead of optimistic? Where would we be if Abraham Lincoln had been realistic instead of daring? And where will you be, if you constantly look at what’s ‘real’ and always play it safe?

But I digress…

Our society is one that constantly practices complaining. We elect public officials and then complain about their performance. We pick and choose the meals we want to eat, then complain when we gain weight. We choose our friends then complain about our relationships.
How often do you look at the positive side of each situation? How often do you objectively evaluate that thing you’re complaining about, and acknowledge that not everything about it is bad?

How To Recognize Your Blessings

Let’s take a look at that list of complaints, and break them down into things to be grateful for right now.

  • I have a stack of bills so high they’re falling off the table.

What goods and services are associated with those bills? What assets are you enjoying, that other people can’t afford to experience? How are these things enriching your life?

Instead of complaining about your cable bill, why don’t you say thank you for the entertainment and information you receive every day? Instead of hating your utility company whenever you receive your light bill, why not take that moment to be grateful for the comfort that lights, air conditioning and heat provide for you?

  • I don’t know where the money’s going to come from to pay the bills.

Do you have a business you’ve always wanted to start, but have been waiting for the perfect time? Are you already self-employed and want to earn more money? Are all of the bills you are worrying about really necessary?

Not only do you have assets to be grateful for, you can also use your bills as catalysts for starting new ventures and cutting back on your expenditures. But you don’t need me to tell you that, do you? You have several things to be grateful for, all in that one complaint.

  • My car’s on it’s last leg.

My car is on it’s last leg as I write this post. Every day that I drive it is a day that I’m grateful and happy. Because Marilyn (yes I name my cars lol) can choose to stop running whenever she wants, and so far she’s decided to to be useful. I’m so grateful for that.

It wasn’t that long ago that I used public transportation to get around every day. Waiting for the bus in 20 degree weather is not a native South Floridian’s idea of a good time. But you know what? I was grateful for the opportunity to let someone else drive me around for a while, and used my commute time to get a lot of my projects done. So that 10-15 minutes of discomfort each way helped me gain 45 minutes of extra time to be productive.

  • My boss hates me.

My first question is, do you know that for sure? Are you certain that your boss dislikes you, or could it be that he or she doesn’t know how to effectively deal with stress so he or she takes those feelings out on you?

Either way, that’s not a good emotion to feel while you’re at work. While practicing your ability to flip the way you look at things, its important to feel gratitude for having the job. There was a point in time that you were hoping and praying that you got it, so you’re currently living a previous dream that you had. That’s a huge reason to be grateful.

  • I haven’t had a date in 3 years.

Being single was the hardest thing for me to be grateful for. I know that people say you’re not supposed to look for a relationship, but when you want to be in one, its very hard not to think about and hope to find someone.

One of my mentors put this into perspective for me. She reminded me that during this time, I have a lot of time to enjoy myself, accomplish goals, go deeper with my spirituality and personal growth that people in relationships might not have. So instead of complaining about the freedom that I have, I should use it wisely.

It’s always easy to see how green, lush and beautiful the grass is on the other side – but we shouldn’t neglect our own grass in the process of admiring someone else’s grass.

Overall, cultivating an attitude of gratitude will make you a happier person. Because you’ll see the everyday blessings that happen in your life and the ‘small things’ become gifts, just as much as the goals you’re striving for. However, an attitude of gratitude is one that’s typically foreign in our society. Daily practice is necessary to make that attitude permanent.

5 thoughts on “Appreciate What You Already Have

  1. I guess great minds really do think alike, because this is exactly what I’ve been blogging about lately. In fact, step 9 in my 10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place is to develop an attitude of gratitude. I really like the way you explained it and the examples you used.

    Here is a little technique I’ve been using lately to help me move from complaining to thanking. Every time I catch myself saying “I have to…” I change it to “I get to …”

    For example, instead of “I have to go to work” I change it to “I get to go to work.” I have a job when many people don’t. I have great colleagues, and I get paid well for work I can do well.

    Changing “I have to” into “I get to” transforms a burden into a blessing.

    I also keep in mind this quote from the Tao Te Ching. “He who knows enough is enough will always have enough.”

    I love your blog!
    Galen Pearl recently posted: Righteous Unforgiveness

    1. Your technique is brilliant Galen. Its a quick and easy way to pivot your thoughts – do an ‘about face’ and go from pessimistic to optimistic, instantly. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Thank you for writing this. I let little things bring me down often (currently working on having an optimistic attitude, and finding it kind of difficult haha) and I love little reminders such as this to keep my head up. My life’s definitely not as bad as half the people out there.

    1. you’re welcome :-)

      Optimism is an active practice, sometimes you’ll wake up and be optimistic but more likely than not you have to work on it. Think about how many things are in our daily environments that negatively affect us; it takes effort to willfully ignore them and intentionally feel good. But it’s sooo worth it in the end.

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