When you have a set of people who truly care about you, you end up having days that you are able to sit back and say thank you to those who have contributed to your growth. I am fortunate enough to have some of those amazing people around me.
With that being said I would like to first and foremost thank my daughter Samira Ellison for an amazing mother’s day poem, Lavern Brown for opening my mind to possibilities, and Donna Paulino for her beautiful heart.
Gratitude is one of the most overlooked emotions that we have. Most of us live our day to day lives wanting more than what we have. That’s pretty much all a person’s sees. We do anything to get that better handbag, car, or pay raise. Only to want something better once we do have it. Do we really ever take the time to look around and realize our growth? By understanding what gratitude is, why it is important, and how to generate it, we can live more satisfying lives.
What is gratitude?
If you look up the definition of gratitude on google.com, you will find gratitude means the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. This could be aimed at anything or anyone. When I do feel gratitude, I feel an overwhelming feeling of abundance and humility. Despite all my flaws, I have three children and a husband that love me. We have a good relationship in which we are able to share ideas, thoughts, and feelings without fear of judgement from one another. I almost feel undeserving of such a high valued gift.
That’s not to say that this is the only way or thing that you can feel gratitude towards. At any given time, you can choose to feel gratitude toward any one, or anything. You can choose to be thankful that you have a job that is allowing you to support yourself. Or towards a coworker who has shown certain kindness. The possibilities and benefits to feelings of gratitude are endless.
Why is gratitude important?
There is a number of reasons why gratitude is important. Feelings of gratitude open your mind to positive imagery and mental attitude. Your personal outlook improves and so will your interactions with others. You will become more humanistic in conversations, and more receptive to the other’s person’s point of view. When you are grateful, you place yourself in frequency to receive acts of kindness. For example, this week I received a small gift from a co-worker that I was thankful for. My daughter then gave me a late mother’s day poem which now sits on my desk that really opened my heart. I then received a book from another co-worker that put some things into perspective for me. Do you see where I’m going here?
How do we generate gratitude?
We can generate gratitude a number of ways. The first and most obvious way is to say thank you for anything received. It’s not enough to say thank you, you really have to feel it in your heart. Even the smallest things received can multiply when gratitude is put into play. That extra dollar that you didn’t have to spend today, turns into twenty dollars that you found in an unused wallet.
Another way to show and express gratitude is by seeing the good in people and their perspectives. Whether their perspective is positive or not, it is their perspective and we may be able to learn something about ourselves and the world around us because they chose to share it.
Lastly, you can allow yourself to feel gratitude when you think back on the hardest obstacle you had to overcome. The fact that you overcame it in itself is a great achievement, and something that should not be overlooked. You have become resilient and a better person because of it.
Although we are constantly being bombarded with negative images and people, we should sacrifice a few minutes of everyday toward feelings of gratitude. You will lead a happier life and will end up receiving a positive point of view because of it. Life is too short to continue to dwell on negativity, and circumstances that you cannot change. So, start living it.
Usually I have a systematic way of writing. I make an outline, I then move sentences around to make them fit, etc. Most of the time it feels very mechanical and choppy. I don’t feel the “creative juices” flowing and I feel constricted to the material I wrote on paper. This one will be a little different. I’m free typing what comes to my mind, I’ll make edits afterward, and make sure everything flows together. So, I encourage my readers to reach out for feedback regarding how this article came out.
I became inspired to write about acceptance and forgiveness after a discussion I had with a supervisor. Without going into much personal details, she and I had a very reflective conversation. While speaking out loud my personal feelings I revealed a lot of information that I thought I had accepted however, I had not. As therapeutic as this is for me, I hope it is the same for you.
Why is acceptance important?
Acceptance is when you tolerate something, someone, a circumstance and then move forward. The importance of moving forward should be emphasized here. We cannot move forward with our lives if we keep looking back at the situation that caused a lot of grievous feelings. We cannot move forward towards personal improvement if we keep looking back at someone who draws out a lot of mixed feelings too. We cannot hold them responsible for those feelings that they invoke in us either. The therapeutic forms of acceptance are seen in individuals who have undergone a very damaging circumstance and further progressed in their life. They inspire us to continue to work harder to make our own personal achievements reality, and therein are granted a mentor status in chapters of our books.
This is also followed by forgiveness.
Why is forgiveness important?
It is not enough to accept the situation or thing that has caused a problematic response in your personal life. The key to truly accepting and moving forward is forgiveness. Forgive yourself for getting involved in a situation that caused this end result. Forgive the person that made the decision to rub you the wrong way. Forgive those around you for belittling you or not having faith in you. Forgive your friends for talking about how you will burn yourself out or not understanding your point of view. Through forgiveness, your world will be a little lighter, and a little brighter.
It takes a lot for you to hold on to bad feelings like envy, hate, sadness, anger, frustration. Forgiveness is about helping you get through the ordeal and giving yourself time to heal. Then we are able to clearly self evaluate and prevent the situation from reappearing. We can take a look at our behaviors that made the situation implode. I use the word implode because more likely, the situation has not effected the other individual as much as it effected you. Some signs of an implosion are inability to focus, increased sleepiness, and feelings of emptiness or sadness. Forgive yourself, just as much as you are forgiving the other person.
This does not mean that you and the other person are now BFFs and stuff. It just means that you accepted and forgave. Sometimes the individual may be so toxic that it is best that you cut your losses and continue to grow. You have now have evolved just because you went through what you went through. Now you know the signs of a toxic relationship and can deter the situation before it becomes extreme.
Moving on can be a difficult task if acceptance and forgiveness has not been properly achieved. You will always be looking for signs of the past, and you will carry those difficult emotions with you to the next situation. You will essentially become the problem. This is no good. It is also a clear sign that you have not forgiven yourself yet.
Once you have undergone acceptance and forgiveness, you will move on. It will be like breathing, easy to get to your goals and successes. You know when you have gotten to this developmental state when your life becomes focused on those you love, and the success of others as well as yourself.
In this current decade that we live in, we are always pushed to test the boundaries. I think in just about every social media platform, commercial, and TV show it’s loud and in your face. Most of society now has a very selfish mindset. “Do what makes you feel good,” or “treat yourself.” I don’t know. I guess I’m still clinging to the old ways in which having personal values are more extravagant then outliving the next person. Although acceptance and forgiveness is about personal improvement, don’t forget to take care of those who truly love you, and whom you truly love. Thank you.
Yaritza Ellison has been an nurse since 2010. She has been essential to the healing process of many and seeks to continue to do so. Her passion for mental health and self help literature has lead her to launch justyari.org, where she aspires to coach young ladies navigating through work-life balance.