I can tell Thanksgiving is just around the corner by all the variations of “grateful, thankful & blessed” popping up everywhere on cute, trendy decorations. It is such a fun, cozy & meaningful time of year! I love that gratitude is at the heart of it, and it is especially pressing on my mind this year.
Gratitude & Joy
Since last Thanksgiving, I’ve read one of my now-all-time-favorite-and-most influential books, The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown*. Through many years of qualitative research, she has defined 10 characteristics of “wholehearted” people, and gratitude & joy is a prominent pair.
Before, I knew “an attitude of gratitude” was important and good and all. But these three ideas really hit me personally and have left me mulling over them for several months:
Gratitude is not merely an attitude- it is a practice.
The individuals that exhibited the most gratitude & joy had tangible ways they incorporated it in their lives, whether through a journal, intentional sharing at the dinner table, or a “jar” filled with notes of gratitude.
Joy is fueled by gratitude.
Unlike happiness which is connected to circumstances, joy is connected to our spirit and is fueled by how we view & respond to our circumstances.
Gratitude, and therefore joy, is squelched by a mindset of scarcity.
Brene Brown shares an except from Lynne Twist’s book, The Soul of Money*, which simply says it best:
“For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep.” The next one is “I don’t have enough time.” Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of…
We’re not thin enough, we’re not smart enough, we’re not pretty enough or fit enough or education or successful enough, or rich enough- ever… And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds are racing with a litany of what we didn’t get, or didn’t get done, that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to that reverie of lack… What begins as a simple expression of the hurried life, or even the challenged life, grows into the great justification for an unfulfilled life…
We each have the choice in any setting to step back and let go of the mind-set of scarcity. Once we let go of scarcity, we discover the surprising truth of sufficiency. By sufficiency, I don’t mean a quantity of anything… It isn’t a measure of barely enough or more than enough. Sufficiency isn’t an amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough.
Sufficiency resides inside each of us, and we can call it forward. It is a consciousness, an attention, an intentional choosing of the way we think about our circumstances.”
– Lynne Twist,
That quote, and these ideas of sufficiency & gratitude & joy, are incredibly convicting when I think about the nature of my daily thoughts. I am always racing against the clock, wishing I had more time. Looking at my to-do list, wishing I had more energy. Feeling burdened by all my expectations, wishing I was just more.
But it is such an unproductive & skewed perspective! It’s like I’m a victim of my time & responsibilities, rather than the one who is in charge of my decisions and reactions given the resources in front of me (Steven Covey* has a lot to say about that!)
Focusing on “not enough” truly does rob us of joy, strength, and being present. Gratitude does the very opposite.
So, like many others across Pinterest and the interwebs and the world, November will be a time of practicing intentional gratitude for me! And as a reminder for all of us, I’ve created a couple of sweet printables I’m excited to use & share with you.
First, I’m going to literally “take a page out of their book” and fill up a box! I have 30 slips ready for me to write down something I’m grateful for each day. I’m interested to look back on Thanksgiving & at the end of the month to see the variety!
Secondly, I’m offering this customizable fall banner so that you can use it however you’d like in your home. Mine simply & appropriately says, “give thanks” but you can pair the letters to spell whatever suits you! Knock yourself out 🙂
Sign up below to get the banner, the slips, and the print up top delivered to your inbox. And if you want a good read during November, I recommend Brene’s book 10,000%, here*. At only 130 pages, I plan to re-read it so we can have our own little virtual book club 🙂
Finally, and most importantly, I am truly THANKFUL for you being here! Have you seen gratitude make a difference in your life?