No matter what ups and downs we have experienced in our lives, there have always been a million blessings. Sometimes we forget to acknowledge or even recognize those blessings because there are so many other things to easily get distracted by. And when you have always had certain blessings in your life, it’s easy to take them for granted or forget to even consider them blessings…that is until you lose them, and then it becomes glaringly obvious that what you used to take for granted truly was a blessing in your life.
So the question becomes, how do we make sure to appreciate and recognize the blessings we already have in our life so we don’t fall into the trap of taking them for granted? I have thought a lot about that lately. Especially as my youngest child is about to begin her Senior year of High School. Where did the time go? What happened to my little boy and girl who were running around with a baseball cap and a big bow on their heads? I thought I had so much time to enjoy their growing up…until I blinked and suddenly we were already there.
“Learn to appreciate what you have before time makes you appreciate what you had.”
I find myself wishing I had appreciated every moment of their childhood just a little bit more. I find myself wishing I had stepped away from the computer or turned off a TV a little more often just to spend a few more precious moments out playing in the yard with them. But those moments have now passed and the opportunities are no longer there. Unfortunately that is the danger of taking things we have for granted – by the time you come to your senses the opportunity has usually passed.
“Never take someone you love for granted. Hold every person close to your heart because you might wake up one day and realize that you lost a diamond while you were too busy collecting stones.”
So the real goal should be to recognize those precious blessings we have in life while there is still time to appreciate them fully. Things like our children, our spouse, our family, our health, our sight, our hearing, our bodies, our time, our talents, our home, our cars, our electronic devices, our food, our job, our clothing, our education, our memories, misfortunes we have avoided…..the list of blessings we have is huge if we start to truly list everything out. So how do we keep our minds in the right spot to continuously be grateful for those blessings so we don’t fall into the trap of taking them for granted?
Here are five suggestions that might help:
1. Stay in the present moment. We spend a tremendous amount of time lamenting about the past and worrying about the future. We have to stop that. We need to live in the right now – live in this very day. When someone talks to us listen. When our children need us, be there. Live as though today is the only day and your job is to make every second of it count. Let the past go and stop worrying about tomorrow…focus on today and make it the very best day ever, so that if it ever does turn out to be your last day on earth you will feel good about how you spent it.
2. Love what you have. Look around you today and recognize that what you have could be so much less and so much worse! Doing that will help you recognize that you should feel incredibly grateful that things are not so much worse than they are because they can always, always get worse. So celebrate and love all that you do have today.
3. Do something kind for someone else today. By doing service for someone else it helps see beyond us and it immediately creates a feeling of gratitude for all that we have. Make sure the people you love most are the people who receive service from you first. Don’t ever let them come in second in your life.
4. Keep a running list of all the things you are grateful for by your bed and add to it at the end of each day before you go to sleep. You will be truly amazed at how long your list can become.
5. At the end of each day get down on your knees and thank God for every good thing in your life.
Recognizing and remembering all the good in your life is the best way to feel genuinely happy. Gratitude is a powerful tool to help make your life into everything you dream it to be:
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”