Gratitude In the Face of Adversity

The Rebirth of Soul process is designed to help you move through your challenges from a place of empowerment rather than a place of weakness. One of the items in your Rebirth of Soul toolkit must be gratitude.  
“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you’ that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart

gratitudeWhat is “gratitude”? Gratitude has many definitions but for my purposes, it means simply living from a place of thankfulness – that acknowledging everything you receive as a small miracle. It means shifting your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that’s already present.   Research shows that gratitude heightens your quality of life. A study at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas drives this point home. They split several hundred people into three groups. The first group kept a diary of the events that occurred during the day without being told specifically to write about good or bad experiences. The second group was told to record their unpleasant experiences and the last group was instructed to make a daily list of things for which they were grateful. The results were clear. Those who made note of those things they were grateful for experienced higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism and energy. They were also more likely to help others, exercise more and made greater progress toward their goals. Quality of life is one reason to live from a place of gratitude. I believe that gratitude, particularly in the face of adversity, makes the difference between being a hero and being a victim. In the aftermath of extraordinary hardship or cruelty, some people are able to express deep gratitude. Others are left with bitterness. In the face of extraordinary hardship, your ideas about how the world is begin to crumble. You can’t find any reason or rationale why this is happening to you. You wonder “why me?” and sometimes the silence of the universe is deafening. Sometimes there are no answers. Just lessons to be learned. This is where acceptance comes in. Can you accept the world, your world, whatever and however it is? The pain strips away layers of protection until you are left standing naked and alone. You find a way to be with it, not against it, without anger or resentment. This is the essence of resentment. This is when you begin to touch your humanity. And, for that, you are, in time profoundly and deeply grateful. How Can Living a Life of Gratitude Make You Happy?
  • Because it reminds you of the positive things in your life.
  • Because it turns bad things into good things.
  • Because it reminds us of what’s important
  • Because it reminds us to thank others
How do you live a life of gratitude?
  • Never compare. Never compare your struggles and experiences to anyone else. Every person is on their own path, creating their own world. Feel gratitude for your own uniqueness!
  • Start small. When things are tough, focus on the tiniest things to be grateful for. Challenge yourself to find the little joys and simple pleasures. Little things add up!
  • Meditate. Meditation can help you find more clarity and gain new perspective on what you truly hold as important.
  • Give thanks. Say thank you more! Find a quality you enjoy in each person you interact with – your friends, your co-workers, the person who checks you out in the grocery store. Thank others for the little things they do even if you don’t know them well.
Two Strategies you can use now to live life in gratitude
  1. Keep a gratitude journal. I’m a writer so physically putting pen to paper helps keep me focused on gratitude. At the beginning or end of each day, write down a few things that your thankful for. Yes, it’s that simple. Don’t like to write? Then try this:
    1. Find a quiet space and get comfortable
    2. Think of something that you’re grateful for. Bring an image to your mind, let it fill you up.
    3. Say (out loud or silently) “I’m grateful for _______”
    4. Let that marinate for a few minutes
    5. Send your love and gratitude from your heart to that thing
    6. Receive the love and gratitude that will come immediately back to you.
  1. Learn and recite a gratitude prayer. Here’s my favorite:
 
Be Thankful Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire. If you did, what would be there to look forward to? Be thankful when you don’t know something for it gives you the opportunity to learn. Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times you grow. Be thankful for your limitations because they give you opportunities for improvement. Be thankful for each new challenge because it will build your strength and character. Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons. Be thankful when you’re tired and weary. Because it means you’ve made a difference. It’s easy to be thankful for the good things. A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks. GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive. Find a way to be thankful for your troubles and they can become your blessings. -- Author Unknown

Once you become oriented toward looking for things to be grateful for, you will find that you begin to appreciate simple pleasures and things that you previously took for granted. Gratitude should not just be a reaction to getting what you want. It’s an all-the-time gratitude for your experiences (good or bad) that will help you grow through your challenges. Tami Gaines is an entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker who travels internationally helping people grow through their challenges – not just grow through them. She is the host of Rebirth of Soul radio, an iHeart radio program and can be heard every Wednesday morning from 10am-11am EST at www.tamigaines.com/radio. A single mom of four kids, one with special needs, Tami always seeks to leave people better off than when she met them.  
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