photo courtesy of Joshua Mann
Grateful people leave fear behind.
Fear isn’t an emotion we can eradicate; it’s impossible to eliminate it once and for all. The key is not to repress fear but to cultivate and express positive emotions that outweigh it. To the extent we allow faith, hope, and love into our hearts, we overwhelm fear and overcome its discouraging influence.– John Maxwell Team
We are living in a time of political divisiveness, hate crimes and natural disasters where for many anxiety and uncertainty are heightened. The unpredictability of these daily events has widespread effects, as many of us feel their impact from afar. Couple our current culture with the pressures of the holiday season, it is no wonder why many people feel little control over what transpires in their lives and are increasingly vulnerable, slipping into a victim’s mentality, characterized by guilt, self-doubt, hopelessness, anxiety, and fear. When we live in a state of fear we minimize our risks, we have trouble separating fact from an assumption, which can lead us to alienate our employees, peers, and customers, and push those we care about most away when what we most want is trust and connection.
Practicing gratitude can help balance these different realities. It allows us to change the context by reframing and refocus our disappointments and frustrations with new meaning and purpose.
Almost daily I write a gratitude list, a list of at least three things that I am grateful for in my life. This simple practice is perhaps the most meaningful part of my daily routine as it guides me to create meaning, and provides me with emotional and spiritual well-being. On days where I am feeling fearful counting my blessings shifts my perspective so I can move forward and beyond what is holding me back. Gratitude enters in when I step back and realize what occurred is not the sum total of my experience. It places me back in the flow and dissolves whatever scarcity or lack I may have been experiencing. What I see as a source of disappointment, grief or loss also contains an opportunity to explore a different way of being in the world. With gratitude, I choose to believe that possibilities and solutions always exist, and my soul is recharged, and life’s synchronous serendipity is restored.
However you spend Thanksgiving today, may it be filled with an abundance of unexpected precious gifts, bring a season of giving thanks, generate gratitude to the people in your life, create new connections and transform your fears into courage.
I am blessed with the opportunity to serve so many of you.