“Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”. (Eph 5 vs 20)
Psalm 95:2 – “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.”
Most of us have incredible family members, friends, and other loved ones who love us back. Learn to appreciate what a miracle that is. Most of us have good health, which is another miracle. Most of us have eyes, with which to enjoy the amazing miracles of sunsets and nature and beauty all around us. Most of us have ears, with which to enjoy music – one of the greatest miracles ever.
We may not have all these things, because we can’t have everything, but we certainly have plenty to be thankful for. To an extent, we know this already, and yet we forget.
Sometimes we all get so caught up pursuing the next big thing that we forget to pause and appreciate the things we have, and the things we’ve experienced, learned and achieved along the way.
In other words, we forget to give thanks continuously, for all things. Since every step we have taken has led us right to where we are, and all things have contributed to our development, when we finally do pause to give thanks, we try to include ALL things in our gratitude.
So that’s what I want to reflect on today – some quick reminders about the things you, too, likely forget to say “thank you” for:
- “Thank you for life’s surprises.” – Notice and cherish life’s surprises. Just because it’s not what you were expecting, doesn’t mean it’s not everything you’ve been waiting for. So take a deep breath when you’re rejected from something good. It often means you’re being redirected to something better. Be patient. Be positive. Keep going.
- “Thank you for the truth I deal with every day.” – Too many of us prefer gentle lies to hard truths. But make no mistake, in the end it’s better to be hurt by the truth than comforted by a lie. And beware of half-truths too – you may have gotten a hold of the wrong half. Open your eyes. You must see things how they are instead of how you hoped, wished or expected them to be. Sometimes it’s hard to accept the truth when the lies were exactly what you wanted to know, but be strong. Life is too short to live a lie.
- “Thank you for the tough times that taught me important lessons.” – God allows you to experience the low points of life in order to teach you lessons that you could learn no other way.
- “Thank you for the challenges I must overcome today.” – The brick walls in life are there for a reason. They are not there to keep you out. They are there to give you a chance to show how badly you want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it as badly as you do. They are there to stop the other people. There is absolutely nothing about your present circumstances that prevents you from making progress, one step at a time. (Read The Last Lecture.)
- “Thank you for giving me the courage to continue.” – Courage isn’t having the strength to go on; it’s going on even when you don’t have strength. And remember, it does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
- “Thank you for giving me the strength to smile.” – Anyone can be happy sometimes. It takes a human being with real heart to make beauty out of the stuff that naturally makes us weep.
- “Thank you for the beauty that remains.” – Even when times are really tough, don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.
- “Thank you for this new beginning I’m living now.” – The best way to prepare for the future is to take care of the present. Goodbyes will always hurt a little. Photographs can never replace the act of being there. Memories, good and bad, will sometimes bring tears. And words can never perfectly describe the feelings they represent. But that’s OK. Pain is real. But so is hope. You have to make peace with your past in order to keep your present and future from becoming hopeless battles.
- “Thank you for all the choices I have.” – A big part of your life is a result of the little choices you make every day. If you don’t like some part of your life, it’s time to start tweaking things and making better choices, right now, right where you are. (Marc and I discuss this in more detail in the “Goals and Success” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- “Thank you for the chance to grow.” – You must be willing to give up what you are in order to become what you will be.
- “Thank you for my bravery.” – Whenever you’re scared but you still do it anyway, that’s brave.
- “Thank you for my inner greatness.” – Contrary to what others may say, you do not need to rise to the top, or be the cream of the crop, before you can feel great about yourself. For you are not a failure because you’re not perfect, got rejected or laid off, struggle to make ends meet, or have a family with issues. You are great because, despite your circumstances, you keep loving, you keep getting back up after every fall, and, above all, the little steps you keep taking, you take with grace.
- “Thank you for the burning desires inside me.” – The starting point of all success is DESIRE. Keep this in mind always. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire creates a small amount of heat. Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about. When you truly believe in what you’re doing, it shows, and it pays. Success in life is for those who are excited about where they’re going.
- “Thank you for my intuition and instincts.” – Take constructive criticism seriously, but not personally. Listen, and then operate with your own intuition and wisdom as your guide.
- “Thank you for my imagination and creativity.” – Imagination and creativity are everything. Together, they draw the preview of your life’s coming attractions. And there are people in nearly every career field who make each day a work of art simply by the way they have mastered their craft. In other words, almost everyone is an artist in some way.
- “Thank you for the excitement and freedom of my vulnerability.” – Being vulnerable is helpful to both ourselves and others. It makes us bigger in the world – the more open we are, the more there is of us out there. So open up. Allow yourself to feel, to be real and authentic. Tear down any emotional brick walls you have built around yourself and feel every exquisite emotion, both good and bad. This is life. This is how you welcome new opportunities.
- “Thank you for my feelings and emotions.” – The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt only with the heart.
- “Thank you for giving me a voice.” – Remember, not being heard is no reason for silence.
- “Thank you for everyone I’ve ever met.” – We are a part of all that we have met. And everyone you meet can teach you something important. Some people bless us and some teach us. All are necessary. In fact, the people who are the most difficult to deal with can be your most valuable teachers in the long run, which is ultimately a blessing.
- “Thank you to everyone for being who they are.” – If you judge people, you have no time to appreciate them. So pay close attention, and respect people for who they are and not for who you want them to be. Loving and respecting others means allowing them to be themselves, whether you choose to be a part of their life or not.
- “Thank you for giving me the ability to love.” – Only those of us who are capable of loving deeply can also suffer deep sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract our grief and heals us. (Read The Gifts of Imperfection.)
- “Thank you for giving me someone to love.” – The best thing to hold onto in life is each other. To love and win is the best thing in the world. To love and lose, is the next best.
- “Thank you for giving me the sense to love myself too.” – Remember, putting yourself first does not mean being selfish – it means being self-aware. It means not forgetting to love yourself, too.
- “Thank you for the solitude and space I need.” – Remember, it’s healthy to spend time alone sometimes. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.
- “Thank you for the incredible people who have stood beside me.” – Know that it’s less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones. And remember, it’s during the toughest times of your life that you’ll get to see the true colors of the people who say they care about you. Don’t take these people for granted. Look around and appreciate them, today.
- “Thank you for the power to give back and make a difference.” – The fact that you can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another’s, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, is proof that YOU can make a big difference.
- “Thank you for life’s luxuries.” – You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night. You awoke this morning with a roof over your head. You had a choice of what clothes to wear. You have access to clean drinking water and electricity. You are online right now. You have plenty to be comfortable. Being wealthy is a mindset. Want less and appreciate more.
- “Thank you for my home.” – A house is a home when it shelters the body and comforts the soul. But a home isn’t always a physical structure, or a specific location on a map. Home is wherever the people you love are, whenever you’re with them. It’s not a defined place, but a space in your heart and mind that builds upon itself like little bricks being stacked to create something stable that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.
- “Thank you for my health.” – You may not be perfectly healthy, but if you’re reading this, you’re likely reasonably healthy. In other words, if you got sick today you could recover. Never underestimate the gift of your health. It’s the greatest wealth you will ever own. It’s the foundation for every chance at happiness and success life has to offer. Your body is the only place you will truly ever live.
- “And finally, thank you for giving me the grace to be alive reading this.” – Not only are you alive, but you have eyes, you are educated, you have the wisdom to read this and understand. YOU are one of the lucky ones. Thank God.
Take a moment to stop everything happening in your life, from the beginning of the year to this moment. Thank Him for everything