How do you become thankful when you feel that there is nothing to be thankful for? The answer is simple. Just start. Most would say, “Easier said than done.” Especially when you are stuck in a negative place. Regardless of what you're going through, negativity will not help your situation improve and may attract more negativity.
If you are struggling with being thankful, it may be because you've been focusing more on what is not right rather than on what it is right.
Here are some tips on how you can start becoming more thankful.
1. Start with gifts. What gifts are in your life that you did not earn? Family, children, spouse and friends? Are you breathing? Are you walking without assistance? Can you see? Can you hear? Start taking inventory of the things you may be taking for granted every day. What are the things you would miss once they were gone? Maybe it is a regular walk with a friend. Perhaps your children greet you at the door when you come home at the end of the day. Possibly it is the beauty you see out of your kitchen window every night as you do your dishes. Once you recognize what it is you would miss, take the time to express that in your heart, with every thought and with your words. Get vulnerable and express it to those who need to hear it.
2. Get around others who are thankful. Exposing yourself to people who already carry what you want to develop in yourself is key. Thankfulness can be contagious if you let it. I have found that when I've been in a really negative place, people who are thankful can be annoying or seem naive. If this is where you are, then it will take some time for you to work past that. Don't give up quickly. It will feel uncomfortable at first, like anything new you are trying. It will take practice to get used to it.
3. Volunteer. Helping someone else out is great for deflating your ego or any entitlement you may be carrying. This works best when they cannot pay you back or you cannot benefit from the relationship. Go feed the homeless! Sometimes those who have very little are some of the most giving and thankful people on this planet. Schools, churches, and missions are great places to check for volunteer opportunities.
To create a culture of thankfulness, implement these ideas into your routine. This list is not all-inclusive, but is a great place to start. If applying these to your life on a regular basis does not bring forth any marked change, you may want to see a counselor or a life coach and get some help with your blind spots.
Melanie is a wife of 21 years and mother of three. She serves Rebecca Bender Ministries as the Strategic Growth Coordinator and will be a frequent guest blogger. Look out for more from Melanie!