By: Martin Grunburg
We all do it. It’s easy and even feels therapeutic at the time. Complaining, venting, bitching — there are plenty of injustices being inflicted upon us on a daily basis, and boy do we like to talk about it. So why does gratitude not come as naturally?
Anyone Can Complain, and Most People Do
The scary thing is this pattern of pondering your woes can and will quickly become a habit if it goes unchecked. In essence, perpetual complaining gets easier and easier the more you think this way, and we can even find ourselves drawn to others with whom we can bemoan life’s cruelties.
As a result, we fall into the habit of complaining.
I’ve seen this happen to so many good people with so many talents and gifts; they are healthy, beautiful, have a great family and many friends — yet they manage to habitually complain.
The Physics of Gratitude
What happens if I shine a flashlight into a dark room? Which do you think “wins”? Light or darkness? Now ask yourself, “Is gratitude represented by light or is it more closely associated with darkness?”
Mindfulness is simply the art of being aware of our thoughts. So it’s the ability to recognize that you hold the flashlight — that you and only YOU have the innate capacity to guide your thinking, at will. But that power can be used only when you become aware of it.
MLK understood this when he said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
One of my favorite books is James Allen’s “As a Man Thinketh.” It’s a masterpiece about how to become the captain of your own ship and the benefits and responsibility of taking the ship’s wheel — your mind — and directing it toward your goals and ideals.
Something To Be Thankful For
Here’s the “crazy” thing: The power of awareness that you and I share — this consciousness of thought — is, in essence, our first human gift! Now this is something to be thankful for: The ability to choose your thoughts!
How many creatures have that unique ability?
William James shared this little nugget over a century ago:
The greatest discovery of our generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind. As you think, so shall you be.” ~William James
Ralph Waldo Emerson put it this way: “You become what you think about all day long.”
Now, for this awareness to be effective and put into practice there are two commandments: First, guard your mind — trap and eliminate those thoughts that do not serve you or your intentions. Second, redirect your thinking toward the light — toward your goals and ideals!
“Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.” ~Buddha (Emphasis on unguarded)
Questions To Ask Yourself in the Middle of a Complaint
Is this thought uplifting and empowering?
Is this thought guiding me toward my ideal future?
What thoughts will help me get there?
Seems like it’s worth remembering that positive thinking isn’t just some magical panacea — it is NOT going to SOLVE your problems. However, it IS going to help you solve your problems better.
It used to be hard for me to understand just how my attitude at one moment in time might influence the next. These days, I’ll just reiterate a great Clement Stone saying: “Big doors swing on little hinges.”
21 Quotes To Inspire You To Choose Gratitude
Whenever you find yourself needing a little gratitude tune-up, just read through the following powerful quotes on gratitude from some brilliant and inspiring individuals. Another way to stay positive!
- “‘Enough’ is a feast. ~Buddhist proverb
- “Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices.” ~Robert Braathe
- “This a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.” ~Maya Angelou
- “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” ~Epictetus
- “Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out.” ~John Wooden
- “Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” ~A.A. Milne
- “If you count all your assets, you always show a profit.” ~Robert Quillen
- “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” ~Robert Brault
- “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” ~Eckhart Tolle
- “You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “Gratitude is more of a compliment to yourself than someone else.” ~Raheel Farooq
- “In life, one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day — or to celebrate each special day.” ~Rasheed Ogunlaru
- “We should certainly count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count.” ~Neal A. Maxwell
- “Silent gratitude isn’t very much to anyone.” ~Gertrude Stein“Gratitude is riches.
- Complaint is poverty.” ~Doris Day
- “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” ~William Arthur Ward
- “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~John F. Kennedy
- “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” ~Denis Waitley
- “When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.” ~Elie Wiesel
- “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” ~Zig Ziglar
- “The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche
Free Gift: Gratitude Guide
Seems to me, we can all use a “fine-tuning” of our minds from time to time — some of us more than others. So I’ve created a really neat and FREE Gratitude Guide; it’s a PDF that includes a cool 8 -week tracker!
Therefore, please reference this gratitude guide; it also includes these EPIC 21 quotes on gratitude too!
(A version of this post first appeared in November 2016.)