It seems like gratitude has become passé, a real thing of the past. In a dog-eat-dog world we spend more time competing with one another than encouraging and celebrating each other’s accomplishments.
We are too caught up in our own misfortune, frustrations, and stressors to take notice and acknowledge another person’s good deed toward us. Throw in all the unique obstacles living a military lifestyle and you have a recipe for disaster; an overworked, overstressed person who sees the world through dirty, broken glasses.
We all know it is much easier to focus on what is going wrong in our lives, creating a comfort zone of negativity with walls so thick and so high that we can’t imagine digging through or crawling over them. Now what if I told you there was a simple way that could help you shine and patch those old glasses and begin to melt away those walls you have created?
We are teaching others the way we want to be treated and creating more happiness in our lives and others.
The expression of gratitude is a simple yet powerful tool that can change the course of a person’s life. Spiritual teacher, Deepak Chopra states, “If you want more happiness, joy, and energy, gratitude is clearly a crucial quality to cultivate. It is a fullness of heart that moves us from limitations and fear to expansion and love.” It is an incredible thought that we could all live a life free of limitations, where we could express our authentic selves without fear! Gratitude is where this all begins.
Gratitude is the act of showing appreciation for someone or something. To cultivate gratitude means to grow or develop it, which implies that this is our responsibility. From the perspective of Life Coaching the best way to cultivate gratitude is by understanding the power of our words, and being conscious of the impact our words have on shaping our environment. Consider a farmer.
He carefully chooses the seeds he wants to plant. He is mindful of the care (soil, water, and sunlight) that is required for those seeds to grow into healthy produce that will help him provide for his family and will be enjoyed by other families as well. Our words are like seeds we choose to sow. Below you will find three simple concepts you can adopt to begin sowing the seeds of gratitude, nurturing caring relationships, and reaping the joy that this brings into your life.
The Power of Positive Feedback
One of the most impactful books I have read is The Four Agreements, A Toltec Wisdom Book. In this book Don Miguel Ruiz refers to the first agreement as “Be impeccable with your word.” Our word is the most powerful gift we have as human beings. Ruiz explains, “If I love myself I will express that love in my interactions with you, and then I am being impeccable with the word, because that action will produce a like reaction. If I love you, then you will love me. If I insult you, you will insult me. If I have gratitude for you, you will have gratitude for me.”
There is a direct relationship between living a happy, peaceful life and the quality and integrity of the words we use. For some reason society has put constraints on what we choose to share with others. We feel silly or weird telling someone they have beautiful eyes or they are a really good listener. Are they going to think we have some hidden agenda?
I have witnessed firsthand the harmony honest, positive feedback creates in both the giver and the receiver. I find opportunities in my own life on a daily basis to share positive messages, encouragement, validation, and appreciation for the gifts another person chooses to share with me. This small, effortless gesture of “paying it forward” sets off a chain reaction that positively impacts my life as well as the other person’s and initiates the beginning stages of rapport between myself and them.
Rapport is the connection we have instantly or we develop over time with people, whereby all our communication is met with approval and acceptance at the unconscious level. It is when you feel like you are speaking the same language and your opinions are being heard.
A disgruntled store worker provides an occasion to show the power of rapport. Have you ever gone shopping and encountered a store worker who obviously didn’t want to be working there? We can allow this to ruin our shopping experience or seize the opportunity to build rapport.
My mother uses the term “killing them with kindness” where we overshadow their negativity with our positivity and appreciations. Not only do we begin to make a connection but they are more willing to help us out. We are teaching others the way we want to be treated and creating more happiness in our lives and others.
Perception is Projection
Perception is Projection is an idea whereby what you see outside of you is a reflection of what is going on inside of you. We can only be what we can see, so if we see beauty, accomplishment, and appreciation around us then we are capable of living that.
When we feel joy and gratitude in our own lives we project that on the people around us and continue to attract more of that into our lives. Open yourself up to acknowledging the lessons you are meant to learn from the people you attract into your life. Ask yourself why have I attracted this person into my life? What is he/she supposed to teach me about myself? This is empowerment in its greatest form.
The intention of this article is to inspire you to think differently about your interactions with others. Use these simple tools to allow your words to lift you and everyone around you to the highest potential, and reap the joys of the gratitude you have chosen to sow.
Rebekah Dixon, MSc is a military spouse, mother of two, and a Certified Professional Coach. She is trained in NLP, Hypnotherapy, and Time Line Therapy. She is passionate about empowering military spouses to develop and maintain their identity despite their unique life circumstances.