I think it’s safe to say that most of us have seen, heard or pinned something related to gratitude. Whether it’s advice pointing out that grateful people are happier people, an article listing everyday things we should be thankful for, or just a simple reminder to consider gratitude more frequently in our own lives.
I’ve pinned quotes out the wazoo, keep a jar of things I’m thankful for, and try my best not to take too much for granted. It wasn’t until recently though that gratitude took a new (awe-inspiring) role in my life.
About a month ago, I was sitting in a regular ole Toastmasters meeting (If you’ve never heard of Toastmasters, look it up. Or let’s talk more. It’s awesome. I’m kind of a super fan.) when one of my fellow members whom I’d never met before stepped up to perform his 10th speech, known to dedicated Toastmasters as the Inspirational Speech. In this case, his speech was titled “Attitude of Gratitude” and was not nearly as cheesy as I expected.
He began by challenging the audience to stop every time we say “I have to do something…” and change it to “I get to do something…” For example, “I have to go to work” becomes “I get to go to work because I have a cool job that pays me to do cool things” and “I have to work-out” becomes “I get to work-out because I’m a healthy human who has the luxury of being able to participate in physical activity.” “I have to pay my bills” becomes “I get to pay my bills because I’m a fully functioning adult who can afford to pay Time Warner for an obscene amount of sports channels…” and, well you get the point.
I was intrigued. At the end of his speech, the speaker asked if anyone would be his gratitude partner for one week, a commitment that would include communicating three things you’re grateful for to each other every single day for seven days.
Needless to say, by the end of that day, I was in. And now here we are, a month later, and I’ve been texting my deepest, darkest gratitudes to someone who was nearly a perfect stranger every single day for the past month. I’m addicted.
Considering what I’m grateful for has become a habitual part of my life and I love it. I stop and think about it often and I couldn’t imagine falling asleep without sending that quick text of three things I’m grateful for that day. Lately, gratitude has become my solace for the not-so-awesome parts of life. I’ve caught myself thinking “I’m grateful for getting stuck behind this school bus because it reminded me I shouldn’t always be in such a hurry.” Or “I’m grateful for over-sleeping because it motivated me not to hit snooze tomorrow!”
And the cool part? Despite naming three things every day, I don’t think I’ve ever repeated a single thing I’m grateful for more than once in the past month. THAT’s how much I have to be thankful for. So cool.
I know we’ve all heard it. But seriously, be grateful. Say it out loud. Tell your mom, friend, neighbor, new plant named Bella, whomever. It will change you, I promise.
I’m grateful for heated blankets. I’m grateful for the cute old lady working at GNC today who was hilarious and also let me sample half the gummy vitamins. I’m grateful for Toastmasters, and also for strangers that change our lives.