An attitude of gratitude comes with making a decision to discard the negative and choose positive thoughts that will set the course for how we experience life.
I always end my letters to you with the sentence, “Choose to make it a good week.” It might be something you’ve never noticed, but each time I write it, I’m reminded that I have the power to make a choice. I’m the one who decides if I’m going to live my life with a positive or a negative attitude. I might not be able to control the world and make people do things my way, but I do have the power to choose how I frame my experiences.
I had a single friend who would wake up every morning and her first conscious thought was to scan, like a radar beam, everything there was to be sad about, mad about and afraid about. Before her feet even hit the floor, she had already decided that life was an uphill battle. Her boss didn’t treat her fairly, her car needed expensive repairs, she didn’t have a husband to help her, and on and on, with a full inventory of what was wrong with her life.
Whether she realized it or not, she was choosing, in those precious waking moments, to have a bad day. Her habit of thinking pessimistic thoughts was robbing her of all the joy that was hers for the taking simply because she decided to focus on her troubles. Occupied with all the things that were wrong, she never had time to be grateful for the things that were right — her blessings.
Fortunately, she had a friend who told her that life wasn’t treating her badly; the problem was her mindset. It was that simple. She elected to think about what was wrong rather than enjoying what was right. She chose to dwell on what to be hateful about, not grateful about.
The friend suggested that she try a simple exercise to break her usual thought pattern. Instead of doing her early morning “radar scan” of negatives, she was to make a list, on paper, of everything that was good in her life.
- Great job
- Money in the bank
- Fun date on Saturday night
- Healthy pets
- Beautiful apartment
- Great health
- Cool car that runs great
- Old laptop that just keeps working and working
- Upcoming trip to help Dad celebrate his 85th birthday
- Beautiful pink roses right outside the office window
The more she stopped to consider what was good in her life, the longer the list became and although she resisted making this shift, she was surprised to find that her gratitude list was much longer than her problem list. By choosing to appreciate what she had, she had the power to change how she experienced life.
Well, here’s a secret. That fear-based, problem-finding woman was me! And although I still have times when I feel overwhelmed with life and go back to searching for every possible snag on the horizon, I’m learning, day by day, to change my outlook — to choose to make it a great day, a great week, a great life.
It’s been an amazing process and has completely changed how I feel, as well as made it possible for me to be open to receive even more to be grateful about — things that were always mine for the taking, but my problem focused thinking prevented me from receiving.
So when I write, “Choose to make it a good week,” it’s not just a flippant sign-off, it’s a reminder to me and a sincere message to you to remember that we have the power to change our attitude, and thereby, to change our lives.
What’s on your gratitude list today?
Smile maker: Bobby McFerrin’s 1988 hit song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”
Copyright © Kim Calvert/ Singular Communications, LLC.
Kim Calvert is the editor of Singular magazine and the founder of the SingularCity social networking community. An outspoken champion of people who are living their lives as a “me” instead of a “we,” Kim oversees the creative direction and editorial content of the magazine and online social networking community. She secures contributors and is responsible for maintaining the fun, upbeat, inspirational and often-humorous tone of Singular, a lifestyle guide for successful single living.