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the best way to get an attitude of gratitude

There is an American Indian story I used to tell my kids when they were young.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Life is messy.  It can really suck one minute and it can be beautiful the next. If you feed the sucky times by re-living them in your mind or to others constantly, they will grow because you are paying more attention to them than the ones that display true beauty.

The best way to get an attitude of gratitude is to acknowledge the rough patches while releasing them and feed what’s going well in your life. This will focus your trajectory in the direction of positive change.

In chapter 13 of my book Wellness Warrior – Fighting for Life in Fabulous Shoes, I talk about what it was like spending 14 days in the ICU (the rough patch part). Although it was really hard, I clung to my view of the outside through a little window across the room. This window was an insight into a world I was no longer a part of. It overlooked the employee parking lot but I didn’t care, I was just happy to see life passing by. I’d watch for hours as mindless people paraded down the walkway with lunch bags and cell phones. I was unbelievably grateful for this vision of daily life because I was desperately clinging to mine, and I needed a reminder that it was possible to be part of the human collective.

I could have wallowed in my suffering, I don’t think anyone would have said a word. Instead, I choose to be incredibly grateful for a stupid window which fully aided in my recovery because it gave me hope.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Gratitude is powerful #medicine if you feed it. It’s also a choice to be remembered daily. #love” quote=”Gratitude is powerful medicine if you feed it. It’s also a deliberate choice to be remembered daily.”]

Today I encourage you to write down in the comments section below 5 things you are grateful for. Also, if you are grateful for the people in your life, tell them. Then, as you go on with your day, think about why you are grateful for them and how they have made your life better. Try 5 more tomorrow and see if you can go a whole week with new ideas each time. You will find that even in the messiness of life, there is still plenty of beauty. We just have to remember to nourish it every now and them so it will grow.

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  • Angela Noel

    Hi Lisa! Most nights as we sit down to dinner my family and I list off the things we are grateful for. Sometimes the answers are surprising! I agree with you though, gratitude for what I have safeguards me from feeling disappointed or overly frustrated when things don’t turn out as I had hoped. It’s a journey, rather than a destination; a practice not an achievement. Here’s my five:
    1- My co-worker had a knife and offered it to me to help cut my pizza. (mmm deep dish Hawaiian)
    2-My new neighbor’s home-harvested hobby farm honey that made my son’s peanut butter and honey sandwich “the best ever.”
    4-Free K-cups in the breakroom!
    5- Discovering six more subscribers to my new blog celebrating awesome people and ideas.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on gratitude- the more I practice the better I get with seeing the beauty all around me every day!

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