Where there is gratitude there is happiness.
It’s easy to lose sight of right now because we’re so busy making plans for the future, hoping, dreaming, and wishing for better, often while worrying about the next big thing or how we’ll arrive at the destination we’re pushing ourselves toward. It doesn’t matter what it is: losing weight, building muscle, running faster, starting a meal plan, making more money, getting a promotion, advancing your career, starting a business, writing a book, meeting your person, being a better parent, buying a house, loving your partner better, showing up for yourself or life differently, starting a new hobby. . . there are a million ways that we can desire to change, improve, and grow. I believe that if we aren’t moving forward we’re actually moving backward – standing still isn’t an option, but how we approach our goals has a significant impact on our quality of life and overall happiness. If we’re too focused on “climbing the ladder” or get into “survival mode”, it’s easy to miss all the beauty in the present. There’s a difference between living for the future and living in the moment, and I’ve been guilty over and over again of losing sight of everything wonderful in the present because I’m putting too much importance on where I want to go, how I want to improve, or who I think I should be. Recently I decided that “should” and “when” are bad words, and remind myself daily that happiness is right now, or it’ll never exist. Just like we’re never “ready” for the biggest, most important, scariest milestones in life (like becoming a parent), we can’t save happiness for some future version of ourselves and we wont arrive at happiness after doing x.y.z.
When life is challenging, or maybe when we’re in the middle of a health pandemic, racial conflict, and political crisis at the same time, it can be hard to feel peaceful and thankful. There’s a heaviness that nearly everyone is carrying as we face change and uncertainty on a daily basis. The wold is crazy weird right now and limbo is an uncomfortable place to hang-out. Obviously it’s easy to be thankful when life is easy and we feel successful, confident, and like everything is lined-up nicely, but life is a constant tide of highs and lows, and gratitude in the darkest times is more important – it can be the difference between depression and hope. In seasons of unrest and uncertainty, focus on anything and everything that’s positive in the moment, and you’ll create a spirit of thankfulness and positive momentum. When we acknowledge that happiness exists even when life isn’t ideal, we create positive energy that moves us toward our dreams with happiness and peace instead of fear and impatience. Having a spirit of gratitude creates resilience, perspective, grace, understanding, patience, compassion, love, kindness, tolerance, and happiness for right now, and since tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, today is worth appreciating.