What the fuck is being grateful? How do you apply it, search for it, acknowledge it? What does it mean? What will it do? How is it different than being happy? Where does being thankful or blessed come into play?
So many fucking questions!
Let’s break down the grateful vs everything else:
Grateful is appreciative of a kindness of a thing/person/whatever that helps you in your life and is long lasting and on-going. It’s an action. e.g. I am grateful for my partner being understanding of me.
Thankful is a feeling of something and it’s momentary. e.g. I am thankful for people who read my words.
#Blessed (I hate this word) is when you feel lucky to have something in your life that went your way. e.g. I am #blessed Converse had a massive sale this weekend.
Defining the words is often like splitting hairs. The difference between grateful vs thankful vs blessed can be, at times, miniscule. I found that we often trip up on the words themselves rather than concentrate on the act of practice and we get bogged down wondering if we’re doing it right or not.
Being grateful is an act and you should always acknowledge it. Being kind to your partner because they are supportive of you goes a long way to your own mindful being. You should feel thankful in the moment when someone does a particular act of kindness towards you. Did they put gas in your car? Get you take-out when you’re not feeling well? Spending a second telling them you are thankful for their kindness speaks volumes of your appreciation of them and it makes both of you feel good for being in that moment.
Now #blessed, #blessed on the other hand is a cheap word used by religious folk and braggarts of their lifestyle to illustrate the material goods in their life. It’s far overused on social media and has lost all meaning. You’re not #blessed because you hit a Converse outlet store and walked out of there with four pairs of Chucks for $86 (unless you’re me and you did this then you are #blessed), you just happened along to a great sale. If you’re going to persist to be #blessed, be #blessed you have food on the table when other’s may not or that you have a job if the economy is tight. Being #blessed does not mean you were lucky to get a pair of $300 shoes for $50. And please, for the love of fuck, stop tagging your insta photos as #blessed.
I know I said the differences is minuscule but you should be practicing all three on a daily basis. Acknowledge someone or something for the gratitude of their action. Every day I tell my partner how grateful I am for when he takes care of me mentally, emotionally, and the other -lys so he knows I have gratitude towards his kindness. After every meal, whether he cooks or we do take out, I thank him for the food that I just ate. We’ve been together for eight years—why am I still thanking him? Because I want him to know that his act of cooking keeps us sustained with food and I’m thankful for that. I need to practice being blessed, as much as I want to grit my teeth when it comes to this word, but I am blessed I have a roof over my head and food in my belly.
Why should you practice these things? Because at that very moment you are participating in life and you’re being present. Showing gratitude, thankfulness, and being #blessed are good reminders to slow down and enjoy the here and now.
How do you search what you’re being grateful/thankful/blessed? Honestly? What helped me was looking at people’s examples to get inspiration for my own. A few years ago I did a project that to give myself a limit of coming up with 100 things I was grateful for and 100 things that made me happy. I didn’t think I could come up with ten but once I got going, it went by pretty fast. Here is the list. Creating the happiness part was easier: I just thought about things I liked and started writing them down.
How often should you create your own lists? This is a hard question. There are so many websites that have you do them in the morning, at night, write one, write 10 and that is confusing. So, I say: Do what the fuck you want. If you think writing down what you’re grateful/thankful/blessed for needs to happen before you go to sleep, then do it or before you get out of bed, do it. If you think that you should do one, five, or ten, that’s completely up to you. It’s your list. You don’t have to subscribe to any one particular way. Websites also like to sell you tools to do this. I made you a starter worksheet for free. Download the worksheet here. But be careful. Lots of people, just like in making ToDo lists, get caught up in the making of the list rather than the list itself. You don’t need washi tape, sparkle gel pens, or fancy paper to make the list. Just make the damned list.
Let’s talk about happiness. I mention above I just came up with things that I liked and I matched it for every gratitude I came up with. I am grateful that I am tenacious AND Trader Joe’s dark chocolate pretzels make me happy. I just came up with things/places/experiences of things that made me happy. There is no simipler way to explain this.
When I created my gratitude/happy list, I did one to one so I could be in the now as I wrote them. But looking back at it now, I should have done the act on a daily basis and not sit down and write ten at a time. Since it’s been two years since the last list was made, I’ve started a new list and I’ve turned it into a blog. Every day I will post one gratitude and one thing that makes me happy and it gets posted to the blog, my Facebook and my Twitter accounts. If you visit this blog directly, I also have the lists coming up in the right sidebar.
I don’t front load the lists meaning I don’t sit down and write out days ahead of time. I do a single one for the following day. It reminds me of that particular thing that I’m grateful for or that makes me happy and it allows me to continue that practice without rushing through it. (Side note: We’re going to be on vacation next week for a week so I’ll be front loading then but that will be the only time!)
Bottom line: Should you be making gratitude lists? The answer is a resounding YES! Becoming mindful is a daily practice and creating a gratitude and happy lists is easy and takes only a minute. You don’t need special tools or spend money to do it. It’s the easiest way to start to slide into being mindful. And remember: There is no right or wrong way to do the lists and no right or wrong way on what to add. This sounds selfish, but showing gratitude is for you and about you. Don’t give a fuck what other people think. If you’re grateful for the rain, then write down you’re grateful for the rain. If you think looking at your partner while they have tissue paper rolled up their nose makes you happy, so be it!
Just make the damn list!