Gratitude is riches. Complaining is poverty.
I remember catching up with some old acquaintances. We started talking about all the things we’d been up to; I was genuinely surprised by how negative and exasperated these women were.
Their jobs were awful; they harbored resentment based on their upbringing and faced numerous people-related issues; the list goes on and on. By the time it got to me, I felt highly worn out. Everyone’s life seemed so bereft of goodness. It made me think about the struggles in my own life — eh, they’re not so bad. “I’ve been well,” I said, honestly. That’s not to say that I don’t experience trials, but I think there is more to life than woes. And the “more” is that life is a beautiful thing, and I am grateful for it.
After this encounter, I’ve started paying more attention to how people talk about themselves and their own lives.
So many people are just downright unhappy.
Modernity has adopted an attitude of entitlement. We read self-help books that remind us of all the things we deserve. We obsess over the life we want to have rather than acknowledging the blessings we do have. We watch ads targeting our every insecurity and encouraging us to buy the latest cream, fashion piece, and what have you.
Here’s the truth: you are not enough. I am not enough. We are broken. We stumble a lot. There will always be challenges. And there will always be someone smarter, prettier, funnier, cleverer, and whatever else there is.
If our focus is entirely on ourselves, these realities will sting and burn and drive us mad. We’ll feel the need to buy into fads, bask in our tragedies, complain, and do just about anything to ease that ache in our hearts.
An ache that only God can fill. On our own, we are not even close to being enough, but through God, we can be the greatest saints. And we can start by finding healing by surrendering our hearts to Christ and practicing everyday gratitude.
Here are three simple ways to grow in gratitude:
Renounce a Competition Mindset
This is huge. As women, we love to compare ourselves. And sometimes, that comparing turns into competing. This mentality is poisonous. That girl you’re jealous of, or you feel the need to contend with, is your sister, not your competition.
Christ died for her and loves her tremendously. Instead of rolling your eyes at her comments or social media posts, say some prayers for her.
Choose to acknowledge the good in others, not look for the bad.
Remember, it’s okay to unfollow people and create a healthy distance. Sometimes, when we seek healing in our hearts, we need to incorporate new boundaries. That’s okay!
Take a Materialism Detox
Materialism is rampant, and this worldly spirit influences many of us more than we realize.
One of the ways to do this is by praying for the virtue of Faith. As Jean-Pierre de Caussade states in Abandonment to Divine Providence:
Receive your fullness from God alone, it will not leave you empty. Adore it, put it first, before all things; tear all disguises from vain pretenses and forsake them all going straight to the sole reality. . . The senses worship creatures, Faith adores the divine will.
The soul filled with Faith experiences great happiness coming from God.
In what ways do we maybe pay too much attention to our senses and earthly goods?
Maybe it’s time to:
-Take a social media detox
-Avoid buying unnecessary things
-Turn off the news
-Listen to only classical music
-Take a break from watching TV shows
-Make a trip to Adoration
-Go to Confession
-Attend daily Mass
-Pray the rosary
Never Skip Your Daily Prayers
Prayer is transformative, and carving out the time to pray every day is a beautiful way to remind ourselves of God’s infinite goodness.
Make sure you have a prayer routine. It doesn’t have to be complicated! Try something like:
1. Start your day with prayer.
2. Find time in the afternoon to pray.
3. Before you go to bed, get on your knees and pray.
All that we are and all that we have belongs to God. The more we unite our hearts to Christ, the more we are filled with Thanksgiving and Love.
This doesn’t mean that Christ will relieve us from suffering, but rather when we turn our hearts to Him, we are ready to pick up our crosses and follow Him.
“Jesus does not demand great action from us but simply surrender and gratitude.”
St. Therèse of Lisieux
Turn your eyes to Christ, and you’ll discover how many reasons there are for gratitude.