Cultivating An Attitude of Gratitude

It seems I’ve gone on another inadvertent hiatus.

Six months have slipped by since my last post. Normally, I would write some long winded explanation as to what was commanding all of my time, why I couldn’t post an update, apologizing for my absence, blah, blah, blah.

Not this time.

I don’t owe any explanations to the Internet, or frankly even to myself. Writing this blog is purely for fun and a way to share my thoughts with the world, despite how few people I actually reach. It’s my way of sharing, and as I sat down to write today, I was overcome with an enormous sense of gratitude. Gratitude for my life, and everything that’s happening. Gratitude for the things that have been dominating my time.

So I wanted to write a bit about gratitude. It’s one of those things I feel is vastly under appreciated in today’s society, where self-entitlement and greed reign supreme. The thing about gratitude is, the more that you genuinely feel it and put it into the world, the more you will cultivate to be grateful for. Without a doubt, this is true.

Gratitude comes from a deep sense of love and appreciation for yourself and your journey. We all take a different journey in this life. We’re all given different starting equipment, and where some might struggle from day one while others are spoon fed into adulthood, we all face trials and we all have to overcome difficult tasks. To be grateful, you can’t compare your journey to someone else. Because each journey is so unique, it takes appreciating your specific situation to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

This can be extremely difficult, especially for those born with the short end of the stick, per se. Those born into poverty, or war-torn countries, or without families, or with disabilities all face greater trials from the get go. Those lives may be very difficult and it can be hard to appreciate what you’ve been given when Molly Mae on the other side of town grew up in a poster-perfect neighborhood with three square meals a day and loving parents who denied her nothing. Wishing that you were Molly Mae might even seem reasonable. How easy would your life be if you had all of that?

From the outside, another’s situation can always appear that way. And while yes, maybe Miss Molly Mae didn’t have to struggle to eat, from the outside you can’t see the pain and grief that she is facing. Maybe her mother is super controlling over what she’s allowed to eat and its created a negative relationship with food she’ll have to battle for the rest of her life. Maybe she was raped and fights her inner demons on a daily basis. Maybe as a kid she lost her best friend in a car accident and she’s never been able to make and maintain friendships since.

The point is, you never know what battles and demons other people are struggling with. We all have this ability to put our best game face on for the world. We want to look put together, as if our lives are oh so perfect to the outside perspective. This is especially the case with social media nowadays, when filters and Photoshop can take any image and make it one hundred times more enviable.

In reality, no one’s life is perfect. Not your favorite movie star. Not Molly Mae. And certainly not yours. I’m sure you can think of three problems or struggles you’re facing right off the top of your head. Maybe they’re big, and maybe they’re small, but I know they’re there. We all have to face challenges. That’s what helps us grow and change into the people our spirits are begging us to become. Your inner self, your true self, is not this flesh and bone body that you’ve been assigned. You are so much more than this mortal body, and the only way to truly appreciate the life you were given, is to live it with gratitude. Even if it’s not the life you would have chosen. You were given it for a reason.

Having gratitude is as simple as waking up in the morning and thanking the stars that you made it another day, instead of immediately groaning about how you have to work. Be thankful you get to work.

It’s thanking a colleague who points out a mistake you made, instead of being irritated at them for showing you the error. Be grateful you can fix your mistakes and learn from them.

It’s choosing to smile at the checkout clerk and ask how their day is going, instead of grumbling and complaining about how slow the line was moving. Be thankful you can still shop for yourself; there are many who can’t.

It’s celebrating the life of a family member who passed away, instead of losing yourself in a pit of despair and grief that debilitates you for months, or even years. Be grateful that they were part of your life, even if it was only a short while.

Remember, nothing lasts forever, so be grateful while you can.

As you start living your life looking for ways to be grateful, rather than hateful, you’ll realize that opportunities for gratitude exist all around you. Having two good legs to walk or a wheelchair that keeps you mobile are things to be grateful for. Whether you have healthy children or access to doctors and medicine to care for your child’s condition, both are things to be grateful for.

As I said before, each person’s journey is unique. I like to think of the human experience as an assignment. We’re all given a life, a personality, and a skillset to work with. How you choose to move forward and create your human experience is up to you. The way you treat this game is up to you. No one is looking over your shoulder and telling you how to play, at least not once you grow up.

Yes, you can play the victim all your life. The “whoah is me,” “my life is so hard,” “no one understands,” mentality is there. If that’s who you want to be, then be it. But if you are struggling and don’t know if you can make it another day, but genuinely want to see your life change and get better, start with your attitude. Be grateful and be gracious that you even have a life. So many are killed before they get a chance to live, or grow up. Be grateful you’ve made it this far and go from there.

Choosing to be grateful for the minor things turns your mindset into one that will attract bigger and better situations and opportunities. I know, because I’ve done this for myself. I’ve been in the lowest pits, in the darkest seeds of my mind, when I was holding a knife and wondering how much it would hurt to stab myself and say goodbye to all the pain. I’ve been in an abusive relationship that stripped me down completely, and intoxicated me so strongly that I never thought I’d break free. In those days, I had the victim mentality. Life was happening to me and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I was angry, blaming everyone and everything, instead of taking responsibility for myself.

Once I took responsibility, and started to be grateful for the life I was given, all the pieces that I’d under appreciated for so many years fell into place. I think every single person in this world has the ability to fulfill their life’s purpose. What that purpose is, only the individual can know. It takes discovery and it takes hard work, but you can find your purpose and live a beautiful life. I promise you can.

Start cultivating gratitude and empower your life. No one wants to be around someone who’s selfish and entitled and expects the world to hand them everything. Do yourself a favor and gratefully accept the role you’ve been given to play. It may not be what you would have picked, but your soul was assigned it for a reason. And once you discover that purpose, do everything in your power to achieve it.

Life is hard, but it’s beautiful too. Live for the beautiful moments, because as you create these moments, you’ll create a life worth living.

Here’s to wishing you all the best on your journey.

Until Next Time –

Yours For Happy Writing,

Lady Jenji

Published by Jenni Johnson

Jenni Johnson, aka Lady Jenji, is a writer, artist, and lover to all. She and her husband live in Palm Bay, Florida. They are quite fond of cats.

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