Thomas Greenfield, M.REd., M.Ed., LPC, LADC
Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner when we devote a day of giving thanks for the blessings in our life. One day a year we gather with family and friends to enjoy abundant food and fellowship. One day a year we focus on giving thanks for our family, our work, our freedom, our every breath and heartbeat. Often Thanksgiving is merely a time to eat, and eat we do! We give thanks for the food, and for those who prepare it. One day of the year. But, is giving thanks one day a year adequate to express our gratitude? Do we have an attitude of gratitude?
Several weeks ago, I wrote about attitude. I pointed out that the word “attitude” is an important factor involved in airplane flight. Not to be confused with “altitude”, attitude of the plane is the pitch of the plane, critical in causing successful flight. When the attitude of the plane is up, the plane rises to new heights. When the attitude of the plane is down, it is descending and will eventually meet the ground if not corrected. Attitude is such a critical factor in flying that there is actually an “attitude indicator” located on the instrument panel of the plane. A pilot is wise to keep close watch of the plane’s attitude.
Our attitude about life is equally important. A positive attitude presents hope, goodwill, cooperation and peace. When our attitude is positive, we see life from a positive perspective. We soar to new heights because we recognize the positive aspects of our life and we are thankful. The converse is true. A negative attitude presents criticism, complaining, conflict and stress. When our attitude is negative, we are descending toward destruction and will meet our demise if not corrected.
An attitude of gratitude is the life-perspective which recognizes the blessings of life every day, not just on Thanksgiving Day. This thankful attitude creates a thankful way of thinking. It permeates even difficult circumstances with the realization that things could be worse. I once heard it said, “I used to complain about not having any shoes until I met a man with no feet.” At attitude of gratitude leads us to being thankful for what we have, not complain about what we do not. We must beware because the more we complain about circumstances throughout the year, the more we are heading toward destruction. If not corrected, this destruction could be seen in family relationships, job performance or mental health.
As do most worthwhile efforts of life, an attitude of gratitude requires intentional effort. A plane doesn’t fly without the pilot’s determined efforts to steer, accelerate and turn. Our attitude in life requires such effort and does not improve without our daily decisions to choose a positive attitude. Such efforts include expressing to others our gratitude for what they mean to us. It means showing appreciation for what others do to help us in both big and small ways. When we cultivate an attitude of gratitude, it not only improves our disposition of life, but it spreads to others as well.
An attitude of gratitude can begin today and continue throughout the year. It starts with being thankful everyday for our Creator’s creation in us. Every heart beat is a precious gift from Him and we are thankful. The Light says, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor 9:15 NKJV) When we choose to have an attitude of gratitude, our way of life improves from the inside-out. Thank God, thank one another and thank your self for making the choice. You’ll be glad you did.
Above all, let The Light guide you.