Thursday, September 1, 2011

I'm Grateful for That!

In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy. –David Steinal-Rast

Let’s start this month of focusing on Step 9 (Develop an attitude of gratitude) by being grateful that we are no longer focusing on forgiveness. Goodness, last month was a challenge!

Here is a much easier and more fun challenge, the Gratitude Challenge. When you are feeling negative about something, say you are grateful for it. It’s okay if you don’t mean it. Just say it. I have discovered that AA is really onto something with their “fake it till you make it” approach. If it is true that we feel the way we act, then act the way you want to feel. So say to yourself, “I’m grateful for [whatever is causing you consternation].” Then you just keep going until some small rays of real gratitude break through the dark clouds.

I’ll give you two examples from previous posts.

The first one occurred when I got stuck in traffic on my way to work one cold, gray morning. I started feeling grumpy. So I thought to myself, I’m grateful for the traffic. But I was still stuck in it...and I was still grumpy. I wasn’t getting anywhere, literally or figuratively, so I kept playing. I’m grateful for the traffic. I’m grateful for the road construction which will improve this intersection. I’m grateful for the people working out there. I’m grateful they have jobs. I’m grateful I have a job. I’m grateful I have a job that doesn’t require me to work with steaming hot tar. I’m grateful my job doesn’t require me to work in the midst of hundreds of cranky people blaming me for delays. I’m grateful I have a car. I’m grateful my car has a seat warmer. I’m grateful I can drive. I’m grateful for....

The crazy thing is that somewhere between I’m grateful for the traffic and I’m grateful I have a job, I started to feel truly grateful. By the time I got past the traffic jam and was zipping along the highway to work, I was glowing with gratitude, feeling blessed beyond belief. And I was grateful for that.

The second example occurred last winter when I was sick with the flu.

I’m grateful for the flu. (No, I’m not. I’m feeling whiny.)

I’m grateful that in the midst of recent stress, my body took charge and ordered me to take a break. (Hawaii would have been nicer.)

I’m grateful for the hot tea my daughter made for me. (I haven’t coughed in 10 seconds.)

I’m grateful for the daughter that made it. (My two daughters still at home have been very attentive this week.)

I’m grateful for my warm blankets and soft pillows piled high on my bed. (They are comforting.)

I’m grateful that I have terrific colleagues who have filled in for me this week while I’ve been sick. (They are truly the best.)

I’m grateful for blog friends and other friends who have sent me get well thoughts and made me feel cared about. (Y’all are truly the best, too.)

I’m grateful that I am generally a very healthy person and this is a temporary condition. (I am so lucky to have good health.)

I’m grateful to have more blessings that I can even begin to count. (Wow, this really works. I am feeling grateful. How silly to be whiny when I so abundantly blessed.)

See how it works? Are you willing to give it a try? Have some fun with gratitude. And remember, fun is good!


  1. I am grateful for your new post. I am truly grateful for having found your blog. I feel like I am getting a makeover. Hope you have a great week.

  2. Hi Galen,
    An attitude of gratitude is the only way to live. I often say out loud, "Thank You." Something to be grateful for always shows up in my life.

  3. I'm sorry you've been sick! :( It sounds like you might've had just a little bit of pampering, though, and that's always a nice thing.

    Hope you're back to 100 percent very soon!

  4. Bonnie--I laughed at the makeover comment. That was great. I appreciate your kind words. Thanks for commenting.

    Justin--I, too, try to remember to say "thank you" many times a day! Thanks for your comment.

    Chrissy--Thanks for the kind wishes, but I am in fine health these days. The flu incident was from last winter. Sorry if that was not clear. Thanks for commenting.

  5. In the midst of our pampered lives (compared to most of the rest of the world), stopping to be grateful is tremendously important. Just for that moment we take the focus off ourselves and think of others or our blessings.

    Being grateful is an instant attitude adjuster. I love your traffic example. I'm almost looking forward to the next street construction zone so I can practice it.

  6. Good morning Galen....this post on gratitude is certainly a great one. In much of my recovery reading they suggest keeping a gratitude journal....each nigh write down 5 things you are grateful. I have done this for years. Sometimes it is difficult to find things and I write down something as simple as I'm grateful to be able to brush my teeth...but it does get everything into perspective. There is a quote by Cicero that goes something like this "gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues.....but the parent of all others". I love that quote.



  7. yay, I like the attitude of gratitude step. (:

    Today I'm grateful for fresh lemons, for overcoming illness & feeling stronger, for vitamins & clean drinking water, for CDs and indoor plants, for hot tea, streaks of sunshine dappling the window, the love of my dog (Joseph) and, well the list is endless.

    Thank you for your blog...I'm thankful for you! Blessings

  8. Bob--Instant attitude adjuster. I like that phrase! Let me know how your next traffic jam goes! Thanks for commenting.

    Jo--A gratitude journal is a great idea. I'll mention that in another post. Thanks for your comment.

    Nan--Yay, I like it, too! Hot tea sounds good right now. I'll go make some and be grateful for it. Thanks for commenting.

  9. I love living in gratitude. Sometimes it's easier than others but even in the hard times it seems to come natural. I am thankful for an energetic day. I am thankful I am going to the beach in 24 days. I am thankful for the gift that I know will eventually come from two close and extremely stressful situations... I am sure I will write on gratitude soon and refer back to your blog. Thx so much. Sandra

  10. Hi Galen,
    "Gratitude" inspires me to do more. I have a 'gratitudes book' in which I write the things that I am grateful for(of course). Gratitude is the impetus to keep going, keep achieving, keep improving. Thank you for this, gratitude cannot be makes us stronger.
    be good to yourself

  11. Hi Galen, pleased to meet you too, thanks for stopping by and leaving your kind words.

    I like the intro to your blog and the subject matter. Happy places are sporadic for me, I'm trying to hold on to them and to keep them up in the face of everything that's happening. But still I think I am better off today than I was a couple of years back and beyond.

    I'll be back. God bless.


  12. I wonder where my comment went - it was a cute poem I discovered on the run? Will have to find it again and come back...I have been getting some strange comment notes at several blogs recently?
    Nice post

  13. I am grateful to have so many vegetables into the freezer
    I am grateful that I can recognize a resentment building up and can work it through

    I was grateful to find a wee poem about gratitude I was sharing here, but it maybe in the unapproved spot and now I can not find it...I got a red comment message instead of a yellow?

    Like your traffic story, I try to find gratitude in the present whatever tasks...the onion chopping freed and released my tears - cleaned my eyes...
    I love stop signs because for 40 years they remind me to do my Kegel exercises! Just 2 times, but I can hold firm :)

    It makes me happy that you are doing this step 9 for the whole month -9
    There is never enough gratitude - it is like a vitamin deficiency?

  14. I am grateful for your blog which has helped me with many unspoken inner turmoils...
    I am grateful for my wonderful family and even for the times when they are not always wonderful but so wonderful to love and be with.
    I am grateful for being alive and knowing this moment of happiness and... well, I think I will have a glass of wine (not whine) and give myself a smile. I am just plain old grateful for all of my wonderful friends and all of the lovely trees that have passed through my life and always give me reason for courage and hope.Oh, and I am especially grateful for my friends Judy and Jill and hope that Judy is having a wonderful birthday. Cathie

  15. Hello Galen
    How are you?
    Thanks for reminding us about the importance of gratitude.
    I am grateful for the gift of life, a wonderful and loving family, friends(both in person and online),some difficulties i went through because it taught me valuable lessons, blogging because it's given me the opportunity to come across inspiring blogs(e.g. yours)....
    To be honest, there are so many things to be grateful for but I'll stop for now.
    Take care of yourself and enjoy the rest of the day

  16. Hi Galen,
    I'm grateful my editor messed up and edited the wrong version of my book - that mistake now gives more time to perfect the manuscript! I'm grateful for the additional time as I'll now be able to work on other projects as he re-edits the correct version. I'm grateful that my book will be coming out later now, as I'm sure the Universe has a plan as to why this was supposed to happen. I'm sure all is going to work out better than expected due to these unexpected glitches.
    Thanks Galen, I really do feel better.


  17. Sandra--I look forward to reading your gratitude post. Thanks for commenting.

    David--A gratitude book is another great idea for keeping us focused on gratitude. Thanks for your comment.

    BM--It's all relative, isn't it? If you are better off now in terms of happiness than you were in the past, then you are moving in the direction of joy. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will be back.

    Patricia--I'm sorry of a comment got lost. I like your analogy to a vitamin deficiency. Stop signs are a great reminder to pause and do a quick spiritual practice or physical exercise! Thanks for commenting.

    Cathie--Happy Birthday to Judy! I loved your list. Thanks for commenting.

    Ayo--I'm fine, thanks. Being grateful for life is a great way to start a gratitude list. Thanks for stopping by. And for your comment.

    Angela--Wow, this is a great example of being grateful for something that initially seemed like a negative event! Thanks for sharing this and I'm glad the technique was helpful.

  18. what a wonderful blog, thank you everyone for sharing your gorgeous stories :)


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