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“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

What can I say? Great minds think alike.

It would appear my idea of cultivating a heart of gratitude is not a new one. The concept has been talked about and analyzed over and over. And yet, it seems our world’s population has become more self absorbed than ever. It is the human condition.

The topic has been discussed as far back as ancient Greece, when Epicurus said, “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”  Yes. It’s tough to be grateful when you are always pining for the next bignewgreatmusthave thing.

So, what’s the way out from this mess of whiny, unsatisfied, self-absorbed attitudes we carry with us?

The key word here is cultivate.

One definition of cultivate is to “try to acquire or develop (a quality, sentiment, or skill).”

Exactly.

A heart of gratitude must be acquired. It is a conscious decision, yes. But can you wake up one day and decide to turn the moaning and complaining to thanksgiving and gratitude? You could. And then do it again the next day. And the next. And the next…. until you live a life of gratitude.

In her article for the Huffington Post, “7 Habits of Grateful People,” Lindsay Holmes outlines seven specific habits to work on in order to procure an existence filled with gratitude. That’s right. HABITS. Meaning, you do these things more than occasionally: journal, don’t avoid the negative, spend time with loved ones, mindfully use social media, know the value of the little things, volunteer, and get moving (exercise).

I feel grateful most of the time. But am I really living a life of contentment and gratitude? Probably not. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have many good consistent habits, especially not all seven on this list. It’s one reason I signed on for this Write31Days challenge, to at least get the habit of writing under my belt. Perhaps it’s also the reason God laid this topic on my heart.

Whew. I have a feeling this is going to be good for both of us.

Let’s explore those 7 habits together, shall we?

See you tomorrow ~

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