The Greatest Gift of All

Gratitude is truly the gift that keeps on giving and one of, if not the greatest gift of all. We are each grateful in our own way and express thanks from time to time. I’d like to suggest that we look for ways to invite gratitude into our lives more frequently and consistently.

Sometime we forget to be grateful or we don’t have time. Gratitude is forgotten when we need it the most. We forget to be grateful when …

  • we are sick
  • we are busy
  • we are worn out
  • we get bad news
  • we are let down
  • we are lonely
  • we are hurt
  • we compare
  • we are scared

In this post, author and researcher Brené Brown says “When I’m standing at the crossroads of fear and gratitude, I’ve learned that I must choose vulnerability and practice gratitude if want to know joy.” Instead of giving into fear, what ifs and falling into a downward spiral she turns to gratitude.

Anytime you are asking questions like, “why me?” consider “why not me?” and find something in the mess to be grateful for.

When I was diagnosed with MS in 2006, I was scared, but I was equally grateful. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for my supportive friends and family and for meeting awesome people in the MS community. I was grateful that we had health insurance and that there had been so many medical advances with MS conventional and alternative treatment. While I couldn’t say it then, today I can honestly say that I am grateful that I have MS. While it does have its downsides, my life is so much better because of it.

How to Practice Gratitude

Say thank you everyday. Make it a point to thank the people closest to you every day. There is always something and if you truly can’t think of anything, simply say, “Thank you for being here.” This practice will help you love more deeply.

Write it down. Use a gratitude journal like Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude to write down 5 things each day that you are grateful for. In tougher times, reflect on the days that came before and how you demonstrated gratitude.

Set a reminder. Yes, there’s an app for that! Random Gratitude Journal send you reminders to be grateful. With each prompt, you can enter a few things that you are grateful for and keep a record of it. You can also use the app without reminders.

Redirect your thoughts. A simple shift towards gratitude will soften your heart so you are more open to the opportunity of joy. When you notice yourself complaining or comparing, quickly say “thank you for …” the other words will follow. You have so much to be grateful for.

Write a thank you note. Write your thank you note on paper and mail it, on a post it delivered in your husband’s lunch or through email to someone who you appreciate. You don’t have to write an epic novel or have perfect grammar to convey your whole-hearted thanks. Simple and real means more than big words and commas in the right place.

I believe that gratitude is the greatest gift of all because it is the connective tissue to all the other amazing gifts available to us. Gifts like love, connection, joy and openness.

Meister Eckhart was right. If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. It will be enough, but the gift of thanks multiplies each time that you say it. It opens hearts and doors, and invites more prayers and more gratitude.

More grateful inspiration

P.S. Earlier this week, Clutterfree was released for Kindle and today, it is an Amazon Best Seller! For that, I am simply grateful.

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Comments

  1. says

    I absolutely love this post. I love how living in Thanksgiving daily brings joy. It is that secret holy grail of happiness that people are always looking for.

  2. Rae says

    Dear Courtney,
    I lost two beloved kittens within two weeks of each other due to a virus (FIP).
    There was nothing I or anyone else could do about it.

    Thank you for this post today. There is so much to be grateful for, even in the depths of despair. :)

    I am mostly grateful for the LOVE these kittens allowed me to experience. No one,
    no virus, can ever take that from me, and I am grateful to really know this in my being.

    Thank you again. You have helped so much by all you share here.

    Rae

    • Courtney Carver says

      Dear Rae, We can all learn from you. If you can find gratitude during this time of great sadness, we can all find something to be thankful for. So sorry about your kittens.

    • says

      I’m so sorry to hear about your kittens, it’s so hard to lose them, especially at such a young age. I’m struggling with the illness of my oldest cat right now. I know I won’t have him much longer, but I too am grateful for the love and richness he brought into my life.

      Hugs to you,
      Cat

  3. says

    This is such a great turnaround! “Anytime you are asking questions like, “why me?” consider “why not me?” and find something in the mess to be grateful for.” Thank you for this.

    Rae, I’m so sorry for grief. I lost my cat about a month ago and I know it hurts. I’ve really try to center on the love. It makes a huge difference!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Sandra, I always think if I am asking “why me?” there is probably a really great answer. Sometimes the answer isn’t revealed right away, but it’s usually something I knew all along.

  4. says

    I like that quote by Meister Eckhart, gratitude has a wonderful way of turning any situation around.

    I was interested by Brene Brown’s quote too, it got me thinking of the connection between gratitude and vulnerability, and how much we all rely on other people for our wellbeing. How important it is to nurture those connections.

    Lovely post, Thank you.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Dave,

      Brene Brown is the queen of gratitude and vulnerability. If you haven’t seen her Ted Talk, I think you will really appreciate it.

  5. says

    I’ve just started practicing gratitude, with the Random Gratitude app.

    I love the app.

    I love the act of writing it down.

    I believe this will become a part of my daily practice. Yay!

    p.s. congrats on the Amazon Best Seller status!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Thanks Mark! One year, I kept a gratitude journal every day. Even on the worst of days, I could think of 5 things to be grateful for. It really helped keep things in perspective. I am going to try the Random Gratitude App for a few weeks and see how I like it. In general, I don’t like reminders, but in this case, it’s a joyful reminder. ;)

  6. says

    I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal for the past couple years – I simply keep an ongoing list of things I’m thankful for on a daily basis. I’m almost to #3000 in my list and it’s been such a wonderful paradigm shift for me…to take time each day to intentionally reflect on the blessings in my life!

  7. says

    I once heard Stephen Colbert interviewed about the loss of his father and 2 brothers in a plane crash when Stephen was a boy. When asked how he feel about it now, he responded “grateful.” Pretty amazing for a person to be able to see the gifts even in such a horrible tragedy.

    I’m similarly impressed with your gratitude regarding your MS. Though I wouldn’t compare the conditions, I have similar feelings about my food allergies. So many things in my world came into focus, and I gained such incredible perspective by living with them.

    Teachers are all around us, we just have to open our hearts and listen to what they are trying to tell us.

    • Courtney Carver says

      I love that! “Teachers are all around us, we just have to open our hearts and listen to what they are trying to tell us.” I do believe that everyone has something to offer us in, but we have to be ready to hear it. xo

    • Courtney Carver says

      great recommendation! I remember saying my prayers before bedtime as a child and slowly that habit faded as I became an adult. It might be time to revisit.

  8. Jim says

    I have MS as well, not the happy MS kind I’ve been in a wheelchair for 7 years. There are things about MS that make me grateful and appreciative but then there are things were I say enough already. I’m grateful for a wife who has been with me every step of the way (no pun intended) and shares in my financial decisions and supports a simplified and sustainable lifestyle. For supportive family and friends. For an understanding boss who lets me work from home, for friends who are always great to spend time with. I’m grateful for so many things but I’m not quite there with my gratitude for my MS.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Jim, I can imagine what a struggle that is. My symptoms are really mild and when I do have a hard time, it passes quickly. That said, I do have my “enough already” moments. I’m so glad you have such a great support system and can find the gratitude in that. It can only contribute to health and happiness.

  9. Lindsay says

    Thank you, Courtney, for being a light to those of us working our way to a simpler, yet fulfilling life. I am grateful.

  10. says

    I love the idea of a gratitude journal. I’ve been reading 1000 Gifts, and that’s encouraged me as well. It’s funny that I read this post today because I had this experience earlier today: that is, I practiced gratitude when I felt upset at my circumstances turning difficult. When I realized I was complaining in my head, I stopped, and found something to be thankful for instead. We live among some beautiful trees, and I just took a moment to look up and enjoy their beauty and feel a grateful heart that we live where we do. Catching ungrateful thoughts mid-process is a powerful thing. It’s a wonderful practice that can break us out of negative mental routines.

    And by the way, congratulations on your book! Woo Hoo!

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