So, I was part of a discussion recently about gratitude and they/we were talking about all the same old types of things: Why should we be grateful, why is gratitude important… you know the drill.

So, I was sitting there listening to the discussion and I was just about asleep from boredom. As I often do to keep myself awake I piped up and shared my thoughts on the topic. Here are the 4 main thoughts I shared:

#1– Personally, I recognize God as the giver of all things. You might see it as karma, yin/yang, circle of life, the universe, or the laws of physics (how energy works). To me it is God and God is/controls all of these things. There is balance in all things… I didn’t say life was “fair” in a subjective, limited perception kind of way… but, life IS ALWAYS fair in an objective, balanced, higher purpose kind of way.

So, as good things or bad things happen it’s important to be grateful for what we have and the experiences we have.

#2– It could be worse! I recall my grandpa when I was a child putting a fine point on this issue, which was hard for his 8 year old grandson to understand back then. As children often do I was in a hurry to get places, fell down and skinned my knee in the process. Grandpa Walker glanced over at me with his wicked smile and said, “Want me to step on your toe so your knee will feel better?” Obviously not the most loving of statements a grandfather might say to his grandchild, however, there was no doubt that grandpa loved me. He just had a special way of showing it. Upon his passing the phrase, “Diamond in the rough” was etched on his marker.

What a lesson this great man was trying to teach his grandson. His world growing up was the Great Depression, hard times, and real bad lives for many. It took thick skin to keep ones chin up and he was passing on a lesson that I value deeply. I am in no small part who I am today because of him.

When we think life is rough, we need to really look at what we have and realize that we always have things to be grateful for, even if what we are grateful for is that things aren’t any worse than they are.

#3– If you don’t appreciate what you have, why should you be given anything more? This is where God and karma come into play. You’ve likely heard the concepts of Living Abundantly, Laws of Attraction, Power of Positive thinking, etc. You may have heard about “The Secret.” Well, the very nexus of this whole concept is that without gratitude, without a grateful heart, without appreciation for what we have – we won’t be ‘given’ anything more than we already have.

Wallowing in self-pity is the best way to stay right where you are. Celebrating our Abundant lives is the best way to find our dreams, hopes, desires becoming reality.

#4– As I see it… this life is a path to self-improvement. The only way to improve who we are is to work on those areas we find hard: Self-control, financial management, optimism… etc. How does a diamond become the hardest and most valuable gem? Not by just slinking along as a pile of sludge for eons and boom one day it automatically transforms into a beautiful diamond. Nope… it is only through intense pressure and heat that a nasty black crumbly carbon material is transformed into something so awesome and precious.

I know we all have our ups and downs and our challenges… but, if we face unafraid the pressure and heat of the moment we will come through the other side a far better person. Face your fire with determination to conquer and over come! When you walk through the other side you may be blistered from head to foot… but don’t you dare complain… put a smile on and be glad that my grandpa didn’t step on your toe!

My Challenge To You: Wake every morning and say, “BRING IT ON, BABY! BRING IT ON!”

Call it what you want, but the key to a happy and full life is to create a sense of contentment and appreciation for those things you have and the lessons you have learned, while keeping in mind during the toughest of times that the point isn’t the pain or difficulty but the strength gained and the strength you’ll ultimately be able to share with others.

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