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  • Jamelle Sanders

Gratitude: The Foundation for a Fulfilling Life

Well, it is almost hard to believe that we are a few weeks away from Thanksgiving. I can already smell the turkey, dressing, and all my favorite holiday dishes. In addition, my mouth is watering just thinking about having a piece of pumpkin pie. This is truly one of my favorite times of the year. Of course, I look forward to the food but I also look forward to the precious time that I get to spend with my family. While everyone is getting in a festive mood, I want you to also remember what this season is truly about. I want to remind you of the power of gratitude and unleashing it as a powerful force in your life. I hope you will take these lessons to heart and live every day of your life with a grateful heart!

  1. Complaining does not change your life. In all actuality, it is much easier to complain than to speak positively. However, I have trained my mind and mouth to speak the best regardless of the circumstances in my life. In a world that is bent toward negativity, I choose to be positive and to see the best in every situation. Complaining is a waste of energy and a devaluation of your existence. I would not waste my breath complaining about my life. Is complaining going to magically change your life? Does complaining produce solutions for you? Have you ever gained wisdom from complaining? I think you are starting to see the point. Complaining does not benefit your life in any way. So you do not even want to create a habit of complaining. As I was learning this years ago, I discovered that complaining sounds a lot like being ungrateful. One thing I never want to be is ungrateful and unappreciative. While circumstances may not be ideal, things could always be worse and that should help to put things in proper perspective.

  2. Gratitude is something that you have to choose. For the sake of time, I will not go into my life story. However, I have faced some dark times and challenging moments. In moments when I felt like my life was going to break, those are the moments that I made the courageous decision to be grateful. Tears were streaming down my face, my voice shook and it took everything in me to find the strength to keep going but I decided to be grateful. Why? I've learned that it's not getting knocked down in life that defines us. It's the courage to get back up and make a comeback that defines us. So whatever you may be facing today I want to remind you to choose to be grateful. Your life does not have to be perfect to be grateful. You do not have to know all the answers to be grateful. Gratitude is simply a decision we make that undergirds us in the most uncertain moments of our lives. Gratitude chooses to see the silver lining and lives with audacious optimism.

  3. You must find something to be grateful for. Over twenty years ago, I started to keep a gratitude journal. At the time, it was challenging for me to write even two or three things that I was grateful for. However, I was up for the challenge and as time went on I found myself writing pages of things that I was grateful for every single day. What have I learned from decades of keeping a gratitude journal? I've learned that we always have something to be grateful for. In moments of crisis, I pulled out my journal and I still found something to be grateful for. When I got the tragic news that a dear friend of mine was killed in a plane crash, I reached for my gratitude journal, and with tears streaming down my face I wrote. I could tell you moment after moment when I did not feel like writing or finding something to be grateful for. Yet I chose to dig a little deeper and discovered that in the most grim circumstances, gratitude was still an anchor in my life. I dare you to start writing a gratitude list every single day and watch your life change for the better!

  4. You must live with a grateful heart. To prevent this blog post from becoming a book, I am doing my best to summarize my thoughts. However, if you know me, then you know that gratitude is my favorite topic in the world. I could write about gratitude every single day and never exhaust it. Honestly, we all go through things in our lives. Some experiences are painful and they cut deep. In my thirty-plus years of experience, I can tell you that you can find contentment even in moments of crisis. You may not be grateful for everything but you can find gratitude in everything. In other words, no matter what happens in your life you must never lose your heart of gratitude. I've found that in being grateful I anchor my life in the truth that things change but my attitude is the one thing I am always in control of. Before you trim the turkey and dig into your Thanksgiving feast this year, I want to remind you that gratitude is not something that we should ever limit to a day. Gratitude is a way of life that we must embrace. You may not have everything but you are still abundantly blessed. You can approach every day with a grateful heart!

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