"Be thankful for what you have, you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." —Oprah Winfrey
If we are being honest with ourselves, most of the time we aren’t walking around thinking about how fortunate we are for the good things going on in our lives, like being alive. Sometimes, I experience moments of realization of how lucky I am for all that I have like my health, family, and friends. It's like a cool wave of gratefulness washes over me, cleansing me of my worries, stress, and problems.
This week, I had such an experience. Although externally, there was nothing out of the ordinary, in my mind, thoughts were flowing of how much I have going on that is great in my life. I am generally not a complainer, though sometimes I find myself so lost in the negatives of life that I forget about the good. All of us have struggles that seem impossible to bear at times, though we also have blessings that can easily go overlooked. We get used to our circumstance all the while forgetting the overall picture of how good we really have it. That’s why it’s important to take a moment to appreciate what you already have, what you have achieved, and how far you have come. It’s a shame to have so much beauty if we don’t take a moment to look around and truly see what is there already.
I appreciate the ocean that I could see from my bedroom window.
I appreciate my health and ability to walk.
I appreciate that I have delicious food to eat.
I appreciate that I have a home.
I appreciate my daughters.
I appreciate being alive and experiencing it all.
As I think about all that I have to be appreciative of, I'm curious: Why is it that such moments are rare? What stops me from tapping into this state of mind more often? I think we are always driving for the next thing, looking at what others have that we don’t and that we take for granted what we have already. We spend so much time focusing on what we are lacking in our lives. We focus on being, doing, and having more than what we have already. When we focus on more, we become blind to all we are already. This leaves us chasing the next thing that will make us happy. But what if we could be happy with what we have already? And what if the path to happiness is appreciating what we already have rather than chasing more?
I will be the first to admit that it can be challenging to appreciate the little things when we are dealing with difficult situations or trauma. However, I suspect that most of us lose sight of our blessings, not because of trauma, but simply because we’re focusing on everything we want but don’t have. To deepen the appreciation of what we have already, we have to remind ourselves of what we are grateful for, even if it seems silly.
The fact is, you are here right now. Your eyes have the ability to read this article. This is all while your autonomic nervous system has been regulating your bodily functions, including your breathing and heartbeat, all without your conscious effort. There’s no limit to what we can appreciate if we’re paying close attention. Think about it, what do you appreciate in your life? What is it that you are grateful for? Here are eight ways to appreciate what you have right now:
- Keep a journal and write down what you are grateful for daily.
- Be present and live in the moment.
- Stop comparing yourself to others.
- Practice self-acceptance and compassion.
- Express your feelings.
- Spend time with loved ones.
- Practice self-care daily.