Do you have the right attitude…the gratitude attitude? It’s November, a time for food, family, and togetherness. It is also a time to reflect upon what we are thankful for. Many of you might be thinking, “Isn’t gratitude a year round state of being?” In my opinion, the answer is a resounding yes. But many behave contrary to this idea, giving thought to gratitude only occasionally throughout the year. This is what I call seasonal gratefulness. The gratitude of people who are seasonally grateful come periodically throughout the year and typically peak during the holiday season around November-December. At the beginning of the New Year, they continue with seasonal gratefulness but then begin to taper off with occasional moments until the next holiday season. This is how these individuals validate feeling good about themselves.
However, being grateful to feel better about yourself for a month or two, or even on special occasions does not constitute a gratitude attitude. It can become problematic in your relationships with others and overall happiness in life. Do you have a gratitude attitude or do you find that your gratefulness fluctuates and is more seasonal? Here are the top 5 signs I have found which indicate a gratitude attitude.
1. You don’t compete with others. Those who are truly grateful are in competition with no one other than themselves. They lift others up, are genuinely happy for others’ accomplishments, and celebrate with those around them for doing amazing things in life. When you compete with others you are actually doing the opposite of being grateful. Envy is the ultimate destroyer of happiness and when you are unhappy it is impossible to be grateful. If you find yourself feeling or saying things like “She only got that promotion because she is a brown noser” or “he doesn’t deserve to have that…” you will struggle to have a gratitude attitude.
2. You appreciate others and feel appreciated. When you surround yourself with positive people, the
happiness you feel will lead to the highest level of gratitude. It is a cycle of positivity that leads to many successes in your life, leaving you rejuvenated, fulfilled, and ultimately grateful. You appreciate others for what they do for you, big and small, and others will appreciate you in turn.
3. You live in the moment. When you learn to live in the moment and truly absorb what is happening, you will feel gratefulness from head to toe. This is the way to make wonderful memories with friends and family. We accept that we can’t control everything and make each day a gift. Be sure to remind yourself of this, and you will keep your spirit humble. This helps you to remain grateful for the people and things around you.
4. You use your manners. Let’s get back to the basics! Simple words like, “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” go a long way. Remember the common courtesies of holding a door open for others, allowing someone to go first in line, picking up a dropped item for someone, and even pulling out their chair to sit? These small acts of kindness for people in your life are lost treasures that show extraordinary gratitude. If you are one of the few who still do these, you are a rare gem. Keep up these gestures of gratitude and model for others.
5. You are genuinely happy. When you are truly happy, you are grateful. You smile often and people enjoy having you around because of your infectious positivity. When your name is mentioned, most people will say “Oh Victoria, she is so funny; I love when she comes over!” Happiness doesn’t mean you don’t go through storms, it means you know the storm will come and then it will pass. It means that when you hit a bump in the road you keep moving. Happy people hold on to their gratitude and that helps them through the difficult times. They are resilient! Happy people use the holiday time of the year to heighten their gratitude! However, that gratefulness never fades throughout the year.
Gratitude attitude or seasonal gratefulness: which one are you? Is this your way of life or is this what you try to do around the holidays because you think it’s what you are supposed to do? If you find yourself more on the seasonal gratefulness side, the first step in moving towards the gratitude attitude is to self-evaluate. Make a list of the negatives in order to see where the possibilities lie for change. Then start with some basic acts of kindness, incorporating them into your daily life. A positive thought can start the day off right! The more you begin to add, the more your thought process begins to shift from negative based to positive based. You’ll be a veteran in gratefulness before you know it, and find that life is more fulfilling from sharing kindness than not.
“It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.”