Have you ever thought about what this world would be like if people were a little more patient and a bit more grateful? I’ve envisioned that world and so have all of our guest writers! This experience has been phenomenal so far and it’s making me really excited for the Gratitude Project on November 18th! Have you signed up yet?!
I want you to meet my new friend, Yolanda Michelle Hairston! While she currently lives in the Holy Land, Yolanda spends much of her time experiencing the world through travel! I’m excited to introduce you to her today because she has some very good points on how to be grateful in a meaningful way.
Make A List and Check and Check It Twice
Yolanda Michelle Hairston
When I was a young child, I loved to sing along to children’s songs by Hap Palmer. One holiday album had a song for Thanksgiving, and I used to sing it every day. Once, I even “surprised” my Mom by calling her to my room to see something, which was me, singing along to the instrumental version, with lyrics changed slightly to express my gratitude towards her for being such a terrific mother. Her tears of joy and gratitude touched me, and that amazing feeling of expressing gratitude and receiving it reverberate in my soul to this day.
Thirty-something years later, I don’t remember the lyrics verbatim, but they went a little something like this:
There are many things I am thankful for
And I know I’m not alone.
There are many things I am thankful for,
I can name them on my own:
I’m thankful for the earth,
I’m thankful for the sea,
I’m thankful for the friends I have,
And I’m thankful to be me.
That was my first introduction to the powerful experience of listing the things I have for which to be grateful. I love to make lists, as I find they help me not only focus, but they also prevent me from forgetting.
There are times in life when we feel insecure, sad, lonely, and frustrated, and like Mary J. Blige sang, “all [we] really want is to be happy.” If happiness begets happiness, how do we pull ourselves from underneath the dark cloud that sometimes hangs over us? Make a list and check it twice. List the many things you are thankful for, whether large or narrow in scope. Feeling lonely? List all of your friends and the nice people in your life, or the different ways you can go out and make new friends. Feeling insecure? List all of the good things about yourself, your accomplishments, compliments you have received. Feeling like your life sucks? List all of the ways in which it does not. Do not limit yourself or your lists; include the fact that you are able to write or to type if you are stuck, and branch out from there. Our working bodies are miracles that we take for granted, so be thankful and grateful for your body and all of its intricate mechanisms that keep you alive.
On one particularly horrible day, when I felt so down and blue, I made a list of all of my blessings for which I am grateful, and I ran out of paper. Such profundity in that exercise– the length of the list, the range of simple to grand things on the list, and the increase in joy and happiness I felt once I had completed it. I checked it twice, smiling along the way, and my soul felt that things were not so bad after all if I had so much goodness in my life. The gratitude list changed my outlook and my focus, and the sun shone a little brighter the next day.
What if you could only be granted tomorrow what you are grateful for today? Make a list and check it twice.