Today, I find myself feeling nostalgic about when I was younger. Full confession, I am fortysomethingohgodiamold, which means I was born in 1975 and was a kid in the 80's and a young adult by the 90's. What I miss is appreciation.
Sounds odd I know, but I miss the time when I would appreciate everything I had (ok, maybe it was because I had no other choices). Those little luxuries or exciting moments that made days or months so much better. Now, so many of chant "If only...." too frequently. "If only I was paid more, I would..." or "If I only had more time, I would...." Somehow, it seems odd that we only truly recognize what we have and appreciate it once it's gone; whether that's things, pets or people.
I would guess that in the Western world, having certain niceties has become normal and usual; making things easier to slip from our conscious awareness. Like beds or showers, etc. Now, not all of us have these things in the first place, not even here, but enough of us have such a good life that we're forgetting to appreciate and be grateful for the things that we do have that are always there.
Now you're wondering what I had in my coffee this morning (Hah! It was tea!), but I woke up today and was tired of feeling negatively about the world, my job and more. So today, CVAP is going to practice being grateful and appreciating what we do have.
Say Thank You
This seems obvious, but it's a step that's often automatic or forgotten in some situations. Writing a thank you card or making a list of people and things you're thankful for on a particular day, can buoy your spirits and keep you happy throughout the week.
Talk to Someone Without
One of the fastest ways to appreciate and be grateful for what you have is to speak with someone who is not lucky enough to have what you have. Find out what it's like to live without a car or a home you own. How do they feel about not owning it? What problems have you managed to avoid by having that item?
Give Back More
I don't mean money. If you've been helped, then give back to the person or the community that helped you. Family loaned you money? When you pay them back, take the time to dinner too or spend more time with your grandmother one Saturday. Find an organization you can help out by being a person at an event or donate your time to their office. Heck, hold the door for someone who's hands are full. Give back of your time and effort - it will make you better.
Why should you do these things? I think you should take the time to be more grateful and appreciative because while you can buy that "shiny" thing from the store, it will only make you happy for the short-term (like an hour or a day). Be grateful, actively appreciating effort and result means that the gratitude you feel will last as long as you think about the moment. That means that two months from now when you remember how you helped that mom with two kids get her stroller and cart out of Wal-Mart, you will feel amazing!
That's how being grateful works - short term, small effort for long term, consistent reward. What or who are you thankful for today?