The Power of Being Grateful

What you have, what you’re doing, where you are, and who you are is enough. That’s plenty to be thankful for.

It took me a long time to realize this simple truth that I am enough. It’s so easy to feel like there’s never enough. Take my appearance and body, for example. If only I had more facial hair, more muscles, less fat, thicker calves, straighter hair, clearer skin, and perfect white teeth, I would be fine. I would be happy. I would be enough.

That’s nonsense, as we should all know. Nobody is perfect. Brad Pitt doesn’t look like he’s rolled off the set of Ocean’s Eleven every day in his slim Italian suit and cool dark shades. He wakes up with bed hair, eye crust, and morning breath, as we all do. Because we’re all from the same breed, the human-kind.

Being grateful for what you have starts with acknowledging what you have. Start with yourself. Hopefully you have your health, you have a roof over your head, you have food to eat in your refrigerator, you have a paying job, and you have a library card. Now think outward. You have people you love and who love you, you have a community of friends and mentors, you have a professional sports team you are crazy for, and you have nature to take long walks in.

But sometimes that internal dialogue of gratefulness gets drowned out by the pesky noises of discontent, worry, and desperation.

I’m too fat.

I’m too skinny.

I’m too ugly.

I don’t have enough money.

I’m disappointed in myself for procrastinating and being lazy.

I’m lost in my school and/or career.

I wish my kids were more well-behaved.

I wish I had nicer friends.

I don’t have a purpose.

I’m lost.

I’m bored.

When it gets particularly noisy, I try to stop and remind myself, that I am and should be grateful for all that I have and all that I am, right now, right here.

My prayers of Thanks go a little something like a book I read quite frequently to my daughters when they were toddlers:

God gave me eyes so that I could see all the beautiful things around you and me.

He designed me with Special talents, gifts and abilities you see, which let me know that He has something Special in mind for me.

~Bonnie Sose, “Designed by God So I Must Be Special”

I thank God for giving me my eyes to see, my ears to listen, my feet to run and walk, my hands so I can touch and feel, and a healthy heart. If that doesn’t work, I think about Nick Vujicic who was born without both legs and arms. Somehow, he has overcome all his physical limitations to live the life that he was meant to live, one that is grateful, generous, and full of God’s grace. If he can be grateful about his life, despite his circumstances, I surely can follow his lead.

When you believe in abundance, you believe there are enough of God’s blessings—enough fulfillment, enough opportunity, enough happiness, and enough love—out there for everyone.

~Nick Vujicic, “Life Without Limits”

Start with saying “Thank You.” Then get specific. What are you thankful for? Let the things you’re grateful for stack up each and every day, until you’ve built a fortress of gratefulness; it will protect you from any negativity, worry, or fear that might come your way.

Gratefulness is a powerful thing. When you are grateful, you are enough. And being at peace with that gives you the strength to reach higher heights that you could have ever imagined.

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Ever consider starting a Gratitude Journal?

Challenge yourself to write 3 things you’re thankful for every day. The earlier you can do it in the day, the better. See how your mindset changes with this one simple act every day.

Cliff Hsia is a writer, husband, and father, who is determined to live a better than normal life by traveling the world, slowly and purposefully, with his wife and two young daughters. His writing has been featured on MSN, TODAY, The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, and other publications. He writes about travel, parenting, and lifestyle design.