If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is “thank you,” it will be enough.
— Meister Eckhart
Tomorrow, what would you do if the only people and things that showed up in your life were those for which you’d been grateful?
What would be left?
Who would still be around?
Would you still have that job you hate so much?
What about the yappy dog… or the noisy kids from across the street… or your car that sounds like it’s on its last legs?
How would you feel without the things you’re not sure you want?
Picturing a world without all the people and things that you never thought to be grateful for can end up being a pretty desolate place. So often, we focus on the little blemish on the great big blessing.
In organizational theory, there is a premise that states that there’s always someone who seems to be the focus of people’s annoyance. They may not be in your department or immediate group, but the theory holds that if you were to remove the irritant (no, not kill them – promote them or transfer them), another irritant would shortly appear.
The new person would talk too much or too little. They’d laugh too loudly or be too opinionated. Whatever – there’d be something that “the rest of everyone” could agree is annoying.
In other words, as a species, we can be complainers. If there’s nothing immediately apparent to bother us, we’ll find something. The room’s too hot or too cold. It’s too big or too small. We’re seldom satisfied, even with ourselves – or maybe I should say, especially with ourselves.
It’s sad but true that we say things to and about ourselves that we’d never let anyone else say about us. We are our own worst critics and there’s no one to defend us as we pick ourselves apart.
The Gifts We Don’t Notice
Let’s change the question I posed at the beginning of the post. What would you do if tomorrow you woke up and the only traits you had were the ones for which you’d been grateful?
What would you have left? Would it be…
So often we don’t value that which comes easily. Me, I’m a champion talker – figuratively and literally. I used to win awards for speaking, aka talking. Admittedly, competitive speaking requires some coherence to all that talking, but it’s still talking all the same.
For the longest time, I wasn’t grateful for my ability to talk. I didn’t understand that others didn’t find it easy at all. As a matter of fact, I got teased so much about my talking, I’d try to shut up. (It didn’t work.) Finally, I realized that it’s a gift. And, I’ve learned to be grateful for that and for other things. It’s taken me a long time to notice many of my gifts, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there, it just means they’re hiding in my blind spots.
I invite you to look around. Figure out what gifts you have. You don’t have to admit them to friends and family, just try being grateful. You’ll feel better about yourself. You’ll realize just how blessed you are.