Gratitude is Great

April 24, 2024

Today the Operations team sat together in our weekly catch-up meeting. It’s an opportunity for us to share our work wins and personal highlights. It’s an important gathering that keeps us connected with the work we’re doing and goings on in our lives. At the end, we seek to close each meeting with some words of wisdom.

This week, our Chief Operating Officer Manager Sam Micich dropped this adage that I have heard many times before, but that at this particular moment struck a chord:

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

With lots going on lately in my world and the world, I have found it particularly difficult to stay on track with my endeavours to practice gratitude. It is easy to look around and feel like a have-not, especially when your look-around is sourced from the highlights reel of society through a highly-curated social media presence. It is easy to feel like your goal or destination is still far away when you don’t look at how much progress you have actually made. And, it is easy to want more when you haven’t taken proper stock of what you already have.

What is the Practice of Gratitude?

Collins Dictionary defines gratitude, the noun, as:
a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation, as for gifts or favours

Increasingly, gratitude is being expressed, not just as a feeling, but as a practice. And an important one, at that.

Collins Dictionary defines practicing, the adjective, as:
actively following a specific way of life, religion, philosophy, etc

Practicing gratitude includes recognising a broader range of satisfactions in your daily life and acknowledging these as gifts. They can include pleasant weather, finding a seat on a packed train, reading a good book, or just a cheerful conversation with a friend. Taking the time to value these simple pleasures as gifts can shift your mindset to a more positive space and give you an overall sense of fulfilment.

And so, practicing gratitude is as simple as actively feeling appreciation.

How Do You Make Gratitude a Practice?

Like everything, some practices seem to come more naturally to some than others. I, myself, need to expressly work on this daily. Some days are easier than others. Some days it seems as though I’m walking against the wind. And that’s when I need a little structure and a little help to get me over the line.

Some strategies for keeping your gratitude in check can include:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal
    This doesn’t need to be elaborate. You don’t need a leather-bound journal, nor a physical book at all. This simply means that at the end of the day you take stock of things that happened during the day that you are grateful for. End-of-day cuddles from your partner, the kids, or fur-babies (I have teenagers – it’s definitely poochy affection for me); a good meal; a warm blanket with a cup of tea. Anything that is a positive part of your day. Keeping a physical journal helps you to look back and reflect on these entries on harder days when negativity can start to creep in.
  2. Call a friend
    I have some friends who love to dwell – if I have a complaint, they will see my irk and raise me a bother. It descends into a complain-off that makes us both feel worse. I don’t call them. Instead, I have some close friends who will listen to my woes, sit with me in my displeasure for a split second before snapping me right out of it with their sunny disposition, good-humour and positivity.
  3. Say I love you
    Maybe you’re not an I love you person. That’s ok. Find your I love you. I feel that an I appreciate you scattered throughout the day is a nice way to acknowledge someone with more gusto than a perfunctory thank you.
  4. Notice the little things
    Head up and eyes open! Most times we’re so busy or not bothering to look around, we miss the tiny miracles that surround us every day. Make eye contact with the person you pass on the street. Say hello. You may have made their day. Pat a dog. Listen to the whooshing of the wind through the trees. Sit in the sun. Walk in the rain. Feel sensations on your skin. Savour your coffee. Notice your body, your working limbs.

And so, I come back to Sam’s little nugget of wisdom; comparison is the thief of joy.

Your own journey towards gratitude is often a solo expedition. It means that you are introspective about the things that make you fulfilled. It very rarely comes in a box, has wheels, nor can it be ordered online. Look only at your fulfilment needs and recognise that there really is joy in your own sense of accomplishment.

Bernadette Liparota

 

 

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