I doubt it is a surprise to many of you that one of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving. But once the official day is over, it’s far too easy for us to let it slip away and get busy preparing for the slew of holidays to come. Making matters worse are all the retailers and advertising companies doing their best to sell us things for others and ourselves. That is why I decided this year to spend a little more time focusing on what Thanksgiving means to me on the day and week after. And what better way than by sharing the SMART words of many of my favorite writers and speakers?
With that in mind, here are ten quotes from my collection that I believe have the ability to help me the most.
1. “ThanksGiving is good, but ThanksLiving is better.” ~Matthew Henry.
This is, and remains, my all-time-favorite gratitude quote. That’s because, like the focus of this post, I think practicing gratitude and appreciation is something that benefits me and everyone else if we could manage to do it every single day of the year.
2. “I truly believe we can either see the connections, celebrate them, and express gratitude for our blessings, or we can see life as a string of coincidences that have no meaning or connection. For me, I’m going to believe in miracles, celebrate life, rejoice in the views of eternity, and hope my choices will create a positive ripple effect in the lives of others. This is my choice.”~ Mike Ericksen.
When I first read this quote, I realized how it speaks about my own optimistic nature. I know that we live in challenging times (of course, when you think about that, you have to realize that nearly every generation has thought that their time was the most challenging.) And certainly, each of us has circumstances we would prefer to avoid. But this quote reminds me that it is all a choice—a choice to believe in the basic goodness of life and of other people—a choice for miracles and possibilities. Call it attitude or gratitude—I’m doing my best to live it 365.
3. “It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.” ~ Naomi Williams.
It’s true. Whenever we are truly feeling grateful, any thoughts of depression melt away. I think that’s because gratitude has the ability to turn a switch in your minds that generates hope and appreciation no matter what we have experienced, or what we are going through now. Unfortunately, far too many of us seem to like the drama of not feeling good and then never allow ourselves the gift of gratitude. Maybe it’s time to give it a try.
4. “If you want to find happiness, find gratitude.” — Steve Maraboli
There are thousands of books and lots of blog posts (including many here on SMART Living 365) that share ideas about how to increase our happiness. But when you think it through, I tend to believe that gratitude is a simple doorway into feeling better about ourselves, our lives and all our experiences. And isn’t that a great pathway to happiness?
5. You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.” ~Sarah Ban Breathnach
What we seldom remember about gratitude is that it is tied to something so much bigger than ourselves. Gratitude is about focus. It is about choosing what we will see, believe and focus on rather than the many other details that can distract or discourage us. In fact, I’m betting that gratitude isn’t a passive view of the world at all. Instead, it is one of the most courageous things we can do to help co-create the type of life and world we hope to live in in the days to come.
6.“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” ~Oprah Winfrey
Here’s another quote that reminds me that if I am focusing on what is going wrong in the world around me or even in my life, it just gets bigger and worse. It is also a great reminder that if all I do is think of what I don’t have—like enough money, enough friends, enough good health, enough safety—then I will likely never, ever find enough of it. Instead, when I return to a sense of gratitude, my focus changes to one of possibility, opportunity and peace of mind. Plus, as Frank A. Clark says, “If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.”
7. “When you feel gratitude, you are the closest to the natural state you were born to live in.” ~Abraham-Hicks.
Abraham-Hicks actually prefers the word “appreciation” rather than gratitude most the time. That’s because they explain that often when we think of being grateful, we come from a place of lack, or not having something, and then focus on the loss rather than the gain. But the feeling is the same. Abraham-Hicks believes that gratitude/appreciation is the same vibration as love—and that of course, is the pure essence of who we all are.
Another important distinction that Abraham-Hicks makes with gratitude and appreciation is to recognize that when we feel it—it isn’t tied to our worthiness. As I have written before, Abraham-Hicks promotes unconditional love and that means when we see with the eyes of true appreciation it isn’t conditioned upon something we did or didn’t do. No guilt, shoulds, or even the idea that we earned something so we should give thanks for it. That unconditional love is always there and all we have to do is see it with deep appreciation to access its gift.
8. “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” — Denis Waitley
Here is Denis Waitley saying much the same thing from a different angle. When we are experiencing true gratitude. then we are open to experience happiness in every minute. Like he says, happiness is not something we can buy or process—it is something we experience and feel. Gratitude opens the door.
9. “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”~Thornton Wilder
A key word here is “conscious.” We have to be aware. We have to pause out of our busy lives and take a moment to look around and appreciate what we have rather than what is missing. It also has to be more than just a mental appreciation—only when our minds and our hearts blend the experience of the treasures in our lives—only then are we truly alive.
10. “If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” ~Meister Eckhart
In case you are wondering, I do believe in prayer. But there are LOTS of ways to pray in my understanding (and I usually avoid those who say otherwise.) That is why the simplicity of this prayer so appeals to me. It reminds me of my connection to the Mystery without making it fit any form other than deep appreciation and connection. Didn’t one great spiritual teacher suggest that we should, “pray without ceasing?” In my opinion, this prayer is the best way to do just that.
Alright, I’ll admit that none of these ideas are new or even original. What they are, at least for me, are great reminders. And if I thought about them every day, which I surely hope to do, then the remainder of my life will be one of unfolding wellbeing and peace of mind. I also tend to believe that the more I come from that state of being, the more likely I am to help and serve other people and the world around me.
With that said, I want each and every person who reads this post to know how much I appreciate them. Just knowing that you are out there in the blogosphere is your gift to me. SMART Living 365 is a labor of love and my offering to those who appreciate words of encouragement and possibility. The SMART perspective is to never take any of it for granted and stay alive and grateful 365.
Okay, your turn! Were any of these a surprise or were you familiar with them all? What stood out for you? What is your favorite gratitude/thanksgiving quote of all time? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.