“What you appreciate, appreciates”
In honor of Thanksgiving week, I wanted to reflect on 1) how gratitude changes your relationship for the better and 2) what living with gratitude looks like.
Studies have shown that gratitude is the single most effective and simplest method of shifting from a negative state (fear, anger, resentment) to a positive one (happiness, joy).
The concept of gratitude is similar to that of smiling. When you activate the dozens of facial muscles required for a smile, you rid yourself of negativity. In other words, neurologically, it is impossible to smile and be mad simultaneously.
Complaining, focusing on the negative and having a victim mentality inhibit us from leveling up. Those attributes cause you to give away your power and allow someone or something else to hold that power over you.
Ask yourself, why you’re okay giving away your power.
I challenge you today to replace your complaints and negativity with gratitude for 24 hours. Give it a try and let me know your experience.
There are many ways to practice gratitude. I started a gratitude journal years ago and now list three to five events or moments throughout the day that caused me to smile. Seeing a dog ranks right up there, along with acts of simple kindness, such as someone holding the subway door for me in this city that I love and call home but which is also full of people with egocentric tendencies. In addition, my first declaration when I wake up is, “Thank you for another day.” We’re only promised this moment. Make it count.
Life has its challenges. Without them, we wouldn’t appreciate the good times as much as we do. As the saying goes, “It’s not what happens to you but how you respond to it” that determines the trajectory of your life.
How do you choose to show up every day?
Gratitude is one of the most important ingredients for success in your relationship. Previously, we discussed some of the qualities men need in order to be fulfilled long-term and being appreciated is high on the list.
We also talked about simple ways to show more appreciation by shifting your complaints to opportunities for gratitude. For example, instead of saying, “You don’t help clean up,” say this: “Thanks, handsome, for taking out the garbage today.” Sure, you might have to wait a few days for him to take out the garbage but be patient. Men respond to positive reinforcement. It’s not that hard if you leave your ego aside and rid yourself of the “I have to do things my way” mentality. Doing what works is the best approach in your relationship.
It’s easy for complaints to turn into criticism. When you consistently criticize, you risk demoralizing your partner. You may not be saying the words but the message you’re sending is, “You’re not good enough for me.” Months or years of your partner putting up with this subtle but piercing message will eventually lead to the relationship falling apart on many levels.
When I ask my clients or friends about their parents’ relationships, a common answer is that they have been together 20 or 30 years. An immediate assumption might be that theirs must be a good marriage.
Please stop this nonsense thinking. I’m not suggesting that longevity doesn’t matter. Rather, it’s the quality not the quantity of time that really impacts our lives deeply.
My passion and work is to support you to live your best life by manifesting your heart’s desires, however that translates for you. If marriage is the only goal, it’s easy to do. Anyone can get married. Period. Anyone can stay in a mediocre marriage with the “wrong” partner for a lifetime.
The goal is not to check another box to say:
- I got married
- We made it to 20 years
- We have children
- We stayed together until the end
- I didn’t die alone
The goal should be:
- I pursued my passions and dreams relentlessly, without reservations
- I loved wholeheartedly and was loved wholeheartedly
- I felt heard, seen and understood by my partner and he by me
- I lived honoring who I am authentically and cultivating me fully
- I made a contribution to the world
- Each day was better than the day before
Living your extraordinary life starts by living with gratitude. What are you grateful for today and how will you express to your partner what you appreciate?
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