“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill
I’ve always thought that I was a pretty grateful person, especially towards others. However, it’s safe to say that from these first three weeks of gratitude I’ve come to realise how negative I can be and also how forgetful I am. My default is not to wake up and be thankful for life and breath, but instead be annoyed that yet again (like clockwork) my alarm has gone off. Although I (usually) feel grateful towards others I’ve seen that towards myself I’m pretty unforgiving and so not grateful at all. One thing I’ve learned from my healing process is that giving yourself self-love, appreciation and worth is so important. As gratitude and optimism have both been shown to improve not only physical health, but mental and emotional, giving gratitude a go sounded like a good idea.
Like most characteristics gratitude is to be practiced and learned, it needs to be cultivated. Sure, we all have greater natural tendancies towards some than others but even those need to be stretched and grown. Gratitude, for me, is one of those. I have to constantly remind myself to stay thankful in every situation, as it is not my default towards myself. I have to choose to do this. Psychology Professor, Robert Emmons, states it is a “chosen attitude” and one that “may be beneficial to subjective emotional well-being”. This has become a huge part of daily life, to thank not only myself but God for all that I have and all that is happening in my life. Even if it’s a negative situation, it will grow me in the long run. Now I’m not saying I’ve got it down but it has definitely been becoming more of my default, and for that I am thankful.