Happiness doubled by wonder – that’s what can grow out of being thankful and living a grateful life.
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
– Gilbert K. Chesterton
It’s not that simple, though. And we shouldn’t be surprised, I guess, as everything that truly has worth needs effort to shore up the action.
Is being thankful easy for you?
I think all of us would like to believe that we are thankful people. (It’s almost indisputable that we have many, many things to be thankful for…)
Maybe our parents insisted we write a thank you card after receiving a gift, which began a habit which continued into adulthood. Or not.
Perhaps we use the words “thank you” a few times a day when our spouse or wait-staff hand us something to eat. Or we respond with thanks when a stranger, co-worker or loved-one does something to benefit our well-being.
It’s even possible that we journal or list those items we are grateful for each day. For example, I have an app on my phone called Gratitude 365 – it’s especially useful because my phone is with me all day, every day. I snap a photo and write down all I can think of that causes me to be thankful. Robert and I have made lists of more than 100 items we’re thankful for – you’d be surprised how easy it is to do this.
But does all this thankfulness lead to a higher level of thought and bring about a happiness doubled by wonder?
Happiness doubled by wonder. Really?
I’m going to suggest it’s not the action of cataloging thankfulness that brings about happiness… (though maybe it begins there). It’s not saying, “thank you” that makes a difference in our happiness.
We need to pause to feel thankful.
First pause. Then feel.
After those steps, perhaps our thoughts can rise above mundane and petty annoyances.
When I take the time to really feel that gratitude – I must be candid – I am humbled.
I know my mistakes and failings. I know my smelly inner dialogue. And there is a scary and startling wonder that comes from realizing I’ve been gifted (often despite my efforts) with an immense list of things to be thankful for… relationships, physical abilities, and items, circumstances both avoided and experienced, and a good future, in my view, granted by the grace of God through the sacrifice of Jesus’ life.
It’s not comfortable.
That wonder isn’t always a comfortable feeling. And the happiness which grows from the wonder makes me realize how very blessed I am. Which, again, isn’t always comfortable.
Should feeling thankful be comfortable? What do you think?
What do you feel?
How does being thankful – feeling grateful – work in your life? Has it made a difference? How? Please share your insights…
Looking on the bright side – can you do that? All the time?
If you’re anything like me, it takes real effort to continue to look on the bright side – regardless. But even though it takes effort, (and sometimes huge effort), it never hurts me in the long run. In fact, it makes my life better, and all those around me feel it.
Once I’ve found the “bright side”, and go with it, then other aspects where negativity could creep in seem easier to manage.
Is it simple to look for the positive in life? Not always.
Looking on the bright side even when it’s hard.
Here are some ways to encourage yourself to focus on what’s good in a circumstance:
- Review all that you could be thankful for in this situation. Make a list. Dig. Here’s a post on thankfulness that will give you practical ideas.
- Express your thankfulness in a concrete way: words, or actions.
- Take time to ponder. We allow the rush of life to overwhelm us and by default the place we end up is negative. Use a timeout to process what’s going on. Prayer always helps me.
- Make a pro and con list on paper. (or your computer) Seeing the issues in black and white will often clarify those nebulous clouds of gloom and doom. Talk it through with a trusted friend. A person who loves you can see situations differently. Neither of you is right or wrong. Sometimes it’s good to have a discussion to see another’s view.
- Get out of your own way. In the Lead Like Jesus Encounter, there’s a part called “Ego’s Annonymous”. It’s designed to help the participants recognize we all struggle every day with pride and fear – it’s an addiction. As a Christian, I see EGO as “edging God out”. Most times, at least for me, when I can’t find the bright side that’s at the root.
How about you?
What techniques do you use to successfully find your positive place?
PositiveThanksLiving is about being strategically optimistic – not just pie-in-the-sky everything is perfect. Living as an optimistic and thankful person takes work – but it’s worth it!
Tomorrow holds promise.
Positivity is knowing there are still good days to come even when today is not good.
It’ll get better.
What can you be thankful for in this moment?
Write it down.
(Yes, I’m talking to you – pick up your pen… it’ll just take a moment… but the benefit will last all day. Come on, now… )
Notice the good stuff today, give thanks and look forward.
Tomorrow holds promise.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Need more ideas to be thankful? Click here to read this post.
Positive People look for things for which to be thankful.
Gratitude as a way of life is part of a positive person’s belief system. Even if they’re not a born optimist, positive people have trained themselves to be grateful.
Giving thanks helps other’s outlook by redirecting them to look at what’s good.
This is the 2nd of 8 ways Positive People help other people’s outlook on life.
8 ways positive people help other people’s outlook on life – I’m guessing they’re more than eight… maybe you can add some?
I won’t overwhelm you with all eight right now, rather, I’ll share one every day for the next eight days for you to think about… Here’s the first one from yesterday.
There’s every chance we won’t be good at all eight – even if we are pursuing becoming a Positive Person. No worries. Optimists always know there is room for improvement.
Give thanks for all the areas where you’re on the “inside”. Now, invite someone else inside also!
“On the inside.”
What does this term mean to you? It’s probably not about being indoor or outdoor… rather it’s a carry-over from our days in a school or institution.
When Rob and I stopped into a Christian bookstore, one book I leafed through was called, “We Saved You a Seat – Bible Study Book: Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships” by Lisa-Jo Baker. One of the many statements that stood out to me was about being dissatisfied where we are…
“The thing we don’t realize in highschool, and sometimes we still haven’t learned during the mini-van driving years, is that everyone is on the outside of something.
But that is only half the story.
We are all, each one of us, also on the inside of something
— often without even realizing it.”
Think of the relationships you have with people.
Are you thankful for those you are already connected to?
Maybe if we stop comparing ourselves
in our perceived “in” or “out” spot,
and began giving thanks,
inviting and encouraging others to join us,
our lives would hold more joy…
That’s my thought… what does this bring up in you?
Some of us might find making new friends easy. Some of us might feel daunted.
I’m guessing we might share some discouragement from the past – being or not being part of a group for !oh! so many reasons. Is it time to leave that discomfort behind?
We are all adults now.
Being candid, that’s one reason I picked up the book from where today’s Positivity Prompt originates. Friendship amongst women has its ups and downs. It shouldn’t. But it does.
We all need to practice forgiveness, overlooking hurts, and serving each other.
And where some believe this topic is only for teens, consider again. If you’ve ever moved to a new city/state and began forging friendships anew, you might be revisiting some of the issues you felt when you were a teen.
Friendship… making friends and feeling on the “inside/outside” can be difficult.
So be encouraging, and invite a new person into your “inside” friendships… start today!
Who will you reach out to and invite “inside”?
And for whom will you give thanks that you’re already on the “inside”?
If you’re interested, here’s the book – the link is an affiliate link.
Your kindness has an impact. It’s more than just that act, it’s a seed for something greater.
Perhaps you’ll never see how your act of kindness changes the world around you, but I believe we sow seeds with our kindnesses from which gratitude will grow. Sometimes those seeds will languish, and do nothing. But there will be times where those seeds will grow into a blossom of gratitude.
If you see value in a being thankful, then create an environment where others will have specific reasons to feel thankful themselves.
Your generous kindness
creates the environment
for gratitude to blossom in others.
Do you need ideas on practical acts of kindness? Here are 25 ideas on how to be kind for no reason.
Now, imagine your world filled with thankful human beings. You can make it happen. It starts with your kindnesses – random and simple or deliberate and complex.
When you are kind you are building a more beautiful space. And that is something to be thankful for… yes?