In this post you will learn:
- What a pair of shoes taught me about gratitude.
- Why we sometimes have to leave our current environment to appreciate the things we already have.
- How you can be(come) more grateful and attract more happiness into your daily life.
Why another blog post about gratitude?
I know, I know. It seems like everyone is talking about it these days: GRATITUDE!
But what does is really mean “to be grateful”? Why is it so important to be grateful?Would you consider yourself as a grateful person – and if not how can we change that?
Let’s start with dropping a truth bomb right here.
A couple of years ago, I thought I had all the answers to the questions mentioned above. I was so convinced that I knew ALL about gratitude, and was rolling my eyes when I stumbled across another Instagram post, podcast episode, book or newspaper article about this “hot topic” everyone was talking about (but only few actually practicing on a daily basis). But what I always thought about “being grateful” is just a tiny piece of the entire (delicious) cake.
What I learned years later was that you can not just “think” about being grateful. You actually need to experience, to embody the feeling of thankfulness and appreciation to be(come) truly grateful.
Gratefulness goes far beyond the thinking mind. It’s a state of being, not doing/thinking/achieving.
Growing up in Singapore and Hamburg, Germany, I was always used to wealth and abundance surrounding me. Luckily, I grew up in a family that travelled often to different countries around the world. My parents took us (me and my siblings) from Spain to South Afrika, from Austria to Australia, from Malaysia to the Maldives.
Yes, I was that blessed to see the most beautiful places on this planet. And it was on one of our many trips around the globe that I truly learned how to be grateful for and appreciate the smallest things in your life. Make sure to read on if you want to know how a pair of shoes taught me about gratitude.
The day I learned about gratitude
I remember the first time I visited Cambodia, a country that is still – apart from the booming tourist industry – marked by massive poverty people living in slums and a high birth rate mortality. One day, me and my family were joining a group of other tourists to the magical temples of Angkor Wat. Before entering one of the temples, we were instructed to leave our shoes outside. Unfortunately, when we exited the temple, my shoes were missing. So I had to continue my exploration barefoot. ☹️
Tears streaming down my face, I was really angry and frustrated about my current situation. I was so angry about being angry that it got even worse (do you know what I’m talking about?) I was pulling myself down in my own sorrow until we crossed a little street that led to a more secluded area away from the hustle and bustle of the temples.
Suddenly we found ourselves in the middle of a slum area. I had seen slums before, but this was different. I remember an old man approaching us carrying something. When he came closer, we could see that he wasn’t caring something but actually someone. On his back a little boy was hooking his legs around the man. When the two came closer, I noticed that he boy wasn’t wearing any shoes, because.. he didn’t have any feet to wear them.
From this incident on, I never cried over missing shoes ever again. I never got myself into a vicious cycle of anger when there was not much to be very angry about in the first place. Instead I started to realise – from that day on – that there is so much in our lives to be grateful for. The simplest things like having two feet to walk on, shoes to wear and be fortunate enough to travel the world and discover different countries and cultures. What a precious gift to be alive and gifted with another beautiful day offering new opportunities and experiences.
The honest truth is that sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone to bring more gratefulness into your daily life. But you don’t have to.
Not happy people are grateful but grateful people are happy.
How to be(come) more grateful on a daily basis?
My number 1 advice is to start seeing EVERYTHING you have with gratitude. Once you start to “think” about all the things you can be grateful for, these thoughts will – over time – create new beliefs in your subconscious mind. In fact, I have come to realise that beliefs are just thoughts repeated regularly.
You have two feet to get you out of bed? Be grateful.
You have a roof over your head and a bed to sleep in? Be grateful.
You have a healthy family, a loving partner, cute children or a pet? Be grateful.
There is ALWAYS something to be grateful for.
Yes, you read it right. Even if you feel like you’ve had the worst week of your life, you’re still alive and breathing. Every day you get a new chance to improve. That’s already something to celebrate, right?!
If you remember to practice gratitude, even in those moments where you think there is nothing else left to be grateful for, you will be rewarded, little by little, with even more to be grateful for. Slowly but surely, you start to notice even the tiniest things in your surrounding that bring a smile onto your pretty face. You will reduce stress, attract more abundance, and might even become more happy and healthy. Moreover, you start to appreciate everything you already have and always took for granted until now.
Gratitude is a daily practice
Start making a practice out of this: Get a new notebook, journal or create a note on your phone (hint: I do all of these). Everyday, when you wake up, make a list of the things you are grateful for that day – before doing anything else. I would recommend writing down at least 3 of which is at least 1 about yourself!
Hint: This morning, I asked you what you are grateful for on Instagram. Not to my surprise, none of you mentioned yourself.. I believe that there is SO MUCH to appreciate about yourself!
Let’s practice this together, won’t we?!
Ok. I’ll go first.
So today, I am grateful for..
– waking up later than usual to the sun kissing my face and allowing myself to rest for another hour in bed (without feeling bad about it)
– a delicious big Sunday breakfast that I enjoyed with my favourite people in the world without capturing these precious moment on any phone or camera
– my sparkling green eyes that don’t need any make-up to shine so bright (believe me only a couple of months ago I would’ve never thought about my EYES! Now I’m proud of coming up with something about myself to be grateful for – including my feet..and eyes.)
Remember that, as almost everything in life, gratitude calls for a regular practice. It’s a habit, which once learned can change your entire life – for the better!
In fact, the latest research in positive psychology shows that a daily gratitude practice has the potential to (among others):
- enhance your well-being
- improve your optimism.
- deepen relationships.
- increase overall happiness.
- strengthen self-control.
- improve physical and mental health.
Gratitude is an attitude you can chose every single day. It’s FREE, simple, and can be accessed every where and at any time!
Does that mean there won’t be any “bad days” once I am grateful? No. There will still be “bad days”, but I now know that there is always something good in every day!
If you are brave enough, I’d love to know what you are grateful for today?
Remember: A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles!
PS: In case you need a little more guidance on what to journal about in the morning, click here and download your FREE GOOD LIFE Journal (if you haven’t done so already!) with a list of more than 100 positive affirmations included 😉
I am so grateful that you found the time to read my words.
With a whole lotta love and gratitude,
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson