The Perspective of Gratitude

Famous writer, William Arthur Ward, once wrote… “Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” In other words, gratitude is really just a shift in our perspective.

If you are an Outlander fan, then you know that in book four (which I’m just about to finish) our intrepid couple, Jamie and Claire, find themselves in pre-revolutionary New England. The author, Diana Gabaldon, does deep research and writes with great attention to the smallest of details so it’s no surprise that I have a vivid picture currently in my mind of what life must have been like for the first 100 harvest seasons and the earliest Thanksgiving feasts in our country. There were certainly no assurances of a harvest plentiful enough to restore depleted supplies and sustain those pioneers through the brutal winter months ahead. They must have felt a huge relief and deep gratitude each Fall for a pantry stockpiled with dried and canned produce, smoked meats and fish, salt, honey, beeswax, fat, flour, as well as hay and grains for livestock. It meant the difference between life and death.

These days, Thanksgiving doesn’t represent our gratitude for a harvest that will make that kind of difference for most of us. As a matter of fact, it’s become almost the opposite… A weird kind of excuse for a large amount of gluttony without much thought for potentially slim times ahead. It’s now simply an annual celebration for all that we are grateful for, in a very generic kind of way.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Thanksgiving and all the traditions associated with it. I just wonder why it takes a holiday to remind us every year of how very blessed we are? And, how we could keep that kind of gratitude alive on a more regular basis?

Something that’s been helpful for me this year is thinking of gratitude as a handy tool to shift my perspective when I need it. Much like deciding in advance that I want to approach my work and my world with decisive positivity, grace, and acceptance… throwing gratitude in that mix makes shifting my perspective at a moment’s notice almost easy. Because it’s pretty hard to remain sour, miserable, negative, or crabby and be grateful at the same time.

If you think about it, that’s all gratitude really is – a shift in perspective. A tool of instant transformation from feelings of lack, absence, deficiency, frustration, or scarcity to feelings of abundance, satisfaction, faith, and true wealth.

As you enjoy all your blessings this Thanksgiving, whatever form they take for you, remember that you do not need a single holiday to feel grateful. You can decide today to leverage it any time you need a shift in your perspective.

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“When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment
goes out and the tide of love rushes in.”

~Kristin Armstrong

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