“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”
Gratitude gives us a better perspective on life. If you’re thankful for every sunrise, then it’s hard to wake up on the wrong side of the bed. If you appreciate every meal, then it’s hard to complain about the dessert. If you’re grateful for every day with your spouse, then it’s impossible to stay angry after an argument.
If you want to live with gratitude, find the good in everything. That won’t be easy. After all, it’s easy to find problems, but it’s a lot harder to find good things. I easily complain when my glasses are dirty, but I struggle to remember the technological miracle that helps me see. I get frustrated when one of my kids starts whining about a nonsense problem, but it takes work to remember the joy I felt the day they were born.
What if I lose my job? Well, I have an opportunity to show my family how to overcome a challenge. What if I embarrass myself in public? I have a chance to laugh at myself. What if I screw up or I lose? At least my mistakes and weaknesses are easy to see. What if I have to start over? Then I can do it better this time.
An “attitude of gratitude” is not something mastered overnight. It takes practice and repetition. You must form a habit of gratitude. That said, you can start right now. It only takes a second. Find something to be thankful for right now. If you’re struggling with that task, imagine losing something important. Imagine losing your job or the death of a loved one. Then bring yourself back to reality and give thanks for what you still have. Now try this every morning and every evening. When that gets easy, try sprinkling in this exercise throughout the day. If you fail one day, start over the next day.
You’ll have good days and bad days, of course. But the more you appreciate both, the more you’ll improve yourself every day.