When I try to practice gratitude all year long, something about the autumn weather and the march toward the holidays reminds me to be thankful.
For as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday. Not because of the food, although I sure do like turkey and apple pie, but rather for the sentiment.
We set aside an entire day to ponder all the things for which we are grateful, and spend time with loved ones to do it! With yummy food! With a few games of corn hole. With lots of laughter. What could be a better holiday?
I have always felt Thanksgiving was all that was “right” about celebrating holidays, while Christmas, with its reckless slide into consumerism, had become much of what was wrong.
Let’s be honest.
What has happened to the real Thanksgiving? All too often now, we’ve turned it into a hurried meal as a prelude to a shopping blowout right before the Lions play the Bears. Sigh.
What has happened to the real Thanksgiving? I feel certain in many homes, the original intent of the holiday and likely the holidays that follow still stands. But those holding on to that intent surely seem to be a dying breed, and for that, I am sad.
I encourage you to spend time this holiday season digging deep and finding the gratitude. Because when we change the way we think…we change the way we feel.
Surely some days it’s harder to find than others, but even on our worst days, we are much better off than many people elsewhere in the world.
You may be wondering why this blog about money is waxing all sentimental about gratitude and Thanksgiving. And here is where I might cross the line with too much “woo” for some of you. That’s a risk I am willing to take.
I feel passionately that gratitude is linked to wealth and abundance.
Simply put, if you want to be wealthy and experience the abundance of life, you cannot, in my opinion, achieve either state without gratitude. Agree?
Over the years, I have certainly fallen into funks about money. Starting a biz is hard. So, I understand the tendency to slide into self-pity party about how hard life is, and how utterly unfair it seems to be!
Here’s the thing.
I have indulged in the pity part for a brief time. I would catch myself and slap myself around a bit to “wake up.” I would then put my own problems into perspective based on what was going on in the big, bad world around me. No matter how bummed I felt about my issues (sometimes I had more issues than a magazine rack), a minute reflection made me realize how many people were suffering far more than I was.
This realization would lead me right to where I needed to be – a place of gratitude.
I would realize that I was truly the recipient of a multitude of blessings. Spending some quality time meditating on how rich and abundant my life was, regardless of how little was in my bank account got my head screwed on straight.
Here’s my kind suggestion to you.
When your financial life is out of control and you feel like throwing in the towel on your carefully crafted budget, your over-worked, under-paid work status, or the “bad luck” that seems to follow you and your money, sit yourself down for a pep talk. Begin with a loving slap session (metaphorically speaking, of course), then find a way to get to a place of gratitude.
These days, I can do this much more easily and frequently. The moment I start to grumble inside my own head about circumstances I find to be less than awesome, I catch myself and tell myself a more colorful version of, “Loretta, straighten yourself up.”
I’m sure to some, relating gratitude to wealth and abundance seems like the worst sort of magical thinking.
As it turns out, I believe in magic, and gratitude is one of two magical keys to building wealth. Never lose touch with gratitude and the humility it brings, but that is a requirement for lasting, meaningful wealth.
I did mention two keys. I’ll spill the beans on the other one.
Magical key number two is all about respect. You must respect money if you expect money to respect you and bless you by showing up in your life. I don’t remember my dad teaching me this lesson as a child. Somewhere along the way, I developed the notion that money required the utmost respect.
Coins don’t just accumulate on counters or in my pockets for me. I will make the special trip into the other room to put those coins where they belong. In a mason jar with all their coin friends. Perhaps you have encountered a scene at the grocery store where someone is paying for their groceries and they accidently drop coins to the floor.
When I witness this, I suck in my breath. The person is either going to dive down to rescue the poor coins, or more often, they’ll conclude that it’s not worth it and leave them on the floor. I’m convinced this respect will not go unanswered in their life.
Both are mandatory if you plan to enjoy a life of lasting abundance and wealth.
Think about this. You become what you think about all day long. So, if you constantly think about how broke you are and how miserable it is to be poor, guess what?
That condition will continue for you. If you instead focus on and tell yourself you are wealthy, that you have all you need, that you are rich already, you will be well on your way to bettering your current circumstances.
Focus on the positive. Focus on the situation you want to want to achieve, and act and think as if it is already your circumstances.
Do not give in to the negative thinking.
Sound too good to be true? Perhaps my philosophy is too absurd or weird for you. But take it from someone who knows – this stuff works.
I’m living proof. A success story. Keep your thoughts in line with your goals. Keep gratitude at the forefront of your attention, and respect all money. Even the lowly penny on the street is a penny more than you had a moment ago.
Loretta Holmes, known for helping teens and women trample their anxiety without pills or lengthy coaching is the founder of Bella Coaching Services. When Loretta is not coaching, you can find her exploring gravel roads on her bike or walking along the beautiful shoreline of Lake Michigan with her golden doodle, Riley.