When your prayers are answered, what do you usually do? Give thanks or ask for more? What do you do when you’ve worked your a** off and things are looking up? If you are like me, it’s an indicator to ask for more and do more. And, of course, complain about why the other fruits of my labour are barely sprouting.
Instead of being grateful for what I have, I’m always stuck on what I’ve not achieved. Immediately after hitting a milestone, I’ll call myself to the next meeting. I’ll be laying down strategies, putting together a schedule, writing the next success indicators, and doing everything except being grateful for what I’ve already achieved.
Recently, it came to my attention that I’m ungrateful. One of my goals is taking a little too long to materialize, and I’ve gone into a full complaint mode. You’ll ask me a simple question like how I’m doing. And I’ll rant about how my life is a mess. The universe is conspiring against me. Jesus has completely forgotten about my case. And, of course, nothing good ever happens to me. I always overlook how far I’ve come. But the one thing that I never seem to lose sight of is everything I’m yet to accomplish.
The misery of an ungrateful heart
This kind of attitude is a setup for failure. A heart that groans all the time, a complaining heart, appreciates nothing in life. In essence, it doesn’t deserve much because nothing can satisfy it.
Complaining begets more complaining. Complaining puts you in a bad mood. The more negative thoughts of defeat and inadequacy you entertain, the higher the chances you’ll attract more random negative thoughts. In no time, you’ll be in a whirlwind of negative emotions. Generally, complaining blocks you from reaching your full potential because you channel your efforts into the wrong things. Also, it has adverse impacts on your brain, which in turn affects your happiness and general health.
This realization woke me up from my misery. I was channelling a lot of energy into things that weren’t going my way. I analyzed every angle of my “failure,” wasted hours of sleep, asking 'why?' Yet, there were loads of things happening exactly how I had hoped. I realized it was time to try a new strategy. Thanksgiving, maybe?
Ways to be more grateful
Complaining is human. But when it gets into the way of living a happy, fulfilling life, perhaps it’s time to try a new strategy called gratitude. On that note, here are proven strategies that have helped me look at life from a different angle.
Think about the bad experiences you overcame
A fertile ground for a grateful heart is to remember the tough times you’ve endured. Remember when you couldn’t afford rent, a decent meal, or simple things like airtime? When you were fired or you were forced by circumstances to resign, and the next job took ages to come? Remember when you battled infertility or a complicated pregnancy? How about when you were rejected over and over again? While all these things shattered you into pieces, you rose again. You can’t help but be grateful for what you have now, seeing just how tough you’ve had it in the past.
Count your blessings and name them one by one
To be grateful for where you are, take a walk down memory lane when you prayed for everything you have now. Think of the days you came up with a strategy to meet your goals. Recall how you woke up with a determined heart every morning to ace each of those goals. Call to mind the feelings of joy that washed over your body when you finally hit the first goal, the second, and the third!
Visualize those experiences in your mind and write them down. Go through your list every so often, lest you forget, how far you've come. Sit with the feelings of gratitude—pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
When you can see how far you've come, it becomes easy to accept that what's not working now is a small setback that will also pass. You have everything it takes to bring your dreams to life. Therefore, you can't let one obstacle derail all the efforts you've put so far to have the life you want.
Take it easy, be patient with yourself
Sometimes, complaining is inevitable. You've put in all the effort. You might have done the right thing, but still, nothing is working. Take a moment and breathe. You are human, and there's only much you can do. So take a break from it all. Go for a weekend getaway. Maybe hiking will do the trick. Perhaps shopping, a sumptuous meal, a movie, music, or time with family will help ease your mind. Go easy on yourself. It might not have worked yet, but tomorrow is unknown. Maybe, just maybe, lady luck will smile on you again.
In good and bad times, journal
The power of writing our feelings and emotions can't be over-emphasized. Pour your heart out on a piece of paper or laptop whenever you feel defeated. The good thing about journaling is that you can be raw with what you are going through since it's private. No one can access it.
So, express yourself. When you free your thoughts in writing, it helps clear your mind, and you can think straight. With a clear mind, you can make sense of what's happening. Further, you'll be able to prioritize your concerns and hopefully find a better way to handle your emotions. Journaling helps make sense of emotions and ultimately reduces stress.
And when all is said and done, when you are grateful for where you are, you can easily attract more of the great things you are looking forward to having in life. As Oprah Winfrey puts it, "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never have enough." Always practice gratitude because it's the key to attracting abundance.