By: Daniela Ubeda
Practicing gratitude can take many forms and it certainly takes effort. I’m no expert here and I’m definitely still learning how to exercise gratitude better everyday. But, after a year of heavy introspection and too many changes to count on my fingers, here are four ways I’ve learned how to practice gratefulness, even when I felt like I couldn’t.
Celebrate the little things
It’s easy to get caught up in the big picture, to worry if we’re doing enough, being enough. But sometimes it’s necessary to step back and appreciate the small details. Remember, our best days can emerge out of moments as simple as getting out of bed, taking care of ourselves, finally getting that one thing done that has been on our to-do lists for days, weeks, months. It’s important to look at life through a microscope from time-to-time and find gratitude in the little things. There is so much to appreciate in this life—the warmth of the sun on a cold day, the laughter of a friend, the smile of a stranger.
Accept the negatives
Learning to accept all that brings us sadness, fear, anger (or anything in between) can be one of the hardest undertakings. But when the negatives start to outweigh the positives, the most we can do is try to re-work our thinking and understand that these negatives and positives go hand-in-hand. This reminds me of a favorite song lyric of mine: “just like the night leaves and the morning comes, summer follows the end of spring. Just like the flower wilts and the fruit grows ripe, everything needs to go through pain.” It’s true, pain is inevitable, but beauty and happiness can always follow. Now, this isn’t to say we need to be thankful for our negative experiences but, instead, think of how they help us acknowledge what we are grateful for and how they’ve made us into the goddesses we are today.
Take a moment to think about the ones you love. If you find something beautiful in someone, never hesitate to let them know. Spend time with your family and friends, tell them you care about and appreciate them. It’s no secret that loving words and actions, no matter how small, can make an immense difference in someone’s life. And gratitude doesn’t always have to be shared between familiar faces, you can take time to volunteer and help those in need. Giving back not only brings happiness to others, but can also help us put our lives into perspective and even strengthen our own gratitude. So come on, express all of the love you have inside of you! Our world depends on it.
Focus on you: aspire for self-love
I’m a strong believer that the most powerful relationship we can have is our relationship with ourselves. I know, self-love is tough. It can take a whole lifetime to love ourselves the way others love us. But as long as we choose to work towards that love and be introspective, that’s all that matters. Be grateful for who you are and what you have, stop comparing. Each life is so unique and complex. It’s okay and important to appreciate what you can bring to this world—you don’t have to be anyone else but you. Forgive yourself and let yourself make mistakes. The more we can be thankful for who we are, even with our flaws, the more we can grow and love ourselves the way we deserve to: shamelessly, with compassion and with a whole lot of gratitude.