This week we are going to dive into the topic of gratitude and how being grateful can lead you to the real you. This step is going to seem familiar to you because in part two, we used a similar exercise to uncover our hopes and dreams. So, hang on, this will be a bit different!
As we get older, the list of things that we are fearful of tends to grow. As a baby, you didn’t really fear anything… other than maybe not being fed, but that was more of an instinctual thing. But as you grew up, certain things might have caused you to be fearful. Maybe it was the boogeyman beneath your bed. Maybe it was losing sight of your mom in a crowded store. Maybe it was a freaky clown at the circus. Then, when you spread your wings and went out on your own, the list of fears grew. Maybe you had a fear of failing. Maybe you had a fear or feeling of not being enough. Maybe you had a fear of never reaching the career or family goals you set for yourself.
Those fears took root in your heart and soul. They took up residence and like little bricks, bit by bit, they built a wall. This wall created a sense of certainty for you. You knew what to expect because you had a sense of security. But that was a lie. Living a life of no risks and hiding behind walls of fear, actually created an unsettling feeling in you. It was and is far from being safe. It left you feeling like there was more life to live, love to give, people to serve, but you couldn’t…because “what if…?”
What if I fail?
What if I’m not good enough?
What if I never do those things God intended me to do?
And that is when you lose who you are and who you were meant to be.
But there is hope!
A favorite quote of mine that I frequently refer to is,
Fear and gratitude cannot coexist.
It is true. Have you ever been full of fear and thankful at the same time? It is impossible. One blots out the other. They are polar opposites of each other and because of that, you have the opportunity every minute of the day to change the state in which you are in. Have you ever had a time when you were feeling totally blessed, full of joy, and then get a call that places you into immediate fear? Maybe a loved one was rushed to the hospital. Maybe your bank account was hacked and your money was gone. What happened to your feeling of gratitude?
Conversely, have you ever been staring at your bills, wondering how you were going to pay them, when suddenly your child came up to you, gave you the biggest hug and said, “I love you.”? At that moment, all you could feel is the blessing of being loved. It may have lasted for just that moment until you went back to the bills and forgot what just happened, but for a moment, that fear was gone.
How quickly can things change? In an instant.
Now how does that relate to finding yourself? You need to first find what you are grateful for. We are most like our authentic selves when we are in a state of gratitude. Being fearful is a state of being that we continue to allow in our lives. The real you is hidden behind your fears. Are you ready to break through that wall and see how gratitude changes everything?
Here are the steps!
- Get quiet.
- Grab a paper and pen.
- Start making a list of all the things you are grateful for. Start with your beating heart. Now, add the mere fact that you are breathing. Start small and then grow your list. Maybe you are grateful for having a warm bed on a cold winter’s night. Maybe you are grateful for the person ahead of you at Starbucks that paid for your coffee that morning. Maybe you are grateful for being born when you were. Maybe it is your ability to serve others in some capacity. The list can go on and on.
- Now, go back over your list and circle the ones that you have the biggest connection with. The ones that truly mean the most to you.
What you will begin to notice is a pattern. It is at this point that you are starting to see your authentic self come to the surface. I would highly suggest taking this list and making it present in your everyday life. Hang it on your wall. Add to it frequently. One great thing about gratitude is that it is something that can always be added to, but never taken away.
I hope you really take the time to do these exercises and if they have helped you in any way, please share them with anyone you feel might benefit from it. I would love to hear all about it and hope you will visit my Facebook page, so that I can connect with you!