The year is ending soon and my hopes is to end it with Gratitude!  There are a few however, who believe this is not a realistic approach to life.  I disagree!

A couple of weeks ago, while I was speaking on the subject of having an ‘Attitude of Gratitude”, one of my audience participants challenged me or called me on the carpet so to speak.  “You cannot tell me you can come up with 10 things every day to be grateful for.” 

I’ll tell you what I told her…  

“I do my very best!  Some days are easier than others, but if I choose to be grateful the list of things to be grateful for will appear!”

man with a vision

Another True Story and Personal Example:

September 16, 2008

I was speaking in my home town and had a late flight (5 hours to sit and wait in the airport – ‘cuz the family is busy)…  I’m not in an attitude of gratitude mood… just got up on the wrong side of the bed that day.  About 20 minutes before my session is due to end, someone from the conference center interrupts my class with an emergency call.

In my bad attitude mood, my first reaction is annoyance, don’t they know I’m busy?

Then I find out that the emergency phone call from home.  My son was being rushed to ER… he had given up on all hope that things would be okay and to him, suicide had looked like his only way out.

Okay Karen… find 10 gratitudes for that moment.  I’ll tell you it was hard, but as you read in his Mother’s Day tribute to me, it was what saved both of our lives.  I was strong internally because I had hope.  I had hope because I had practiced having an attitude of gratitude.

Gratitudes

1. He was alive and physically well

2. I had 5 whole hours with him in ER before my flight.

3. I got to be on the road working for the next two week to keep my mind occupied –  personal visits were limited to a few minutes a day if allowed at all. Being away they gave me permission to call so I could talk to him every day – several times a day if he was up to it.

4. I had a best friend I could call and cry with

5. Grateful for my faith

6. Grateful for my husband and his support.

7. Grateful for my sister Julie and her insight and love.

8. Grateful we have one of the leading psych hospitals/wards in the country

9. Grateful we have THE Expert/Teaching doctor on one of the treatments they needed to give him.

10. Grateful to hold him in my arms and tell him I love him.

etc…

You see, what I’ve been told by my son is that he expected to see a Mom that was all freaked out and upset.  What he saw instead was one with love for him, and pain for him, in her eyes.  Without realizing the impact it would have on me or him, listing my gratitudes while I rushed to ER to be with him, I had taken the focus off of “poor me” and placed it where it belonged – ON HIM – and only him!

Now do I really do my gratitudes every single day?  No!  I’d like to say I do, but some days, like most of us, I’m just not in the mood.  I’ve challenged myself to do 20 on these days and I can certainly see the difference between mood cycles when I practice an attitude of gratitude.

So to answer the challenge I was given yesterday.  I have good moods, bad moods and indifferent moods… but my life is a much more positive place to be when I can hold on to an attitude of gratitude.  It doesn’t take bad things away… but it does put you in a frame of mind to deal with them from a position of strength, hope and faith!