I recently attended a birthday party for a young boy who was turning 9 years young. The time for presents had come and as the presents were presented, the young boy tore into the packages with glee, but i noticed something lacking in its intensity.

An Attitude of Gratitude

Now, don’t get me wrong here, i would not assume an mature aspect of living to a child that has yet to embrace the concept of gratitude. At that point in their life, is it not all about a concept of “me” and the things that “me” wants?

Not so sure of that.

I questioned myself as to when an Attitude of Gratitude is indeed instilled. I mean, is it like a switch that is turned on at a certain time? It seems to be like many other rather insane held beliefs in our society. Ones like, ‘You are 18 today, you are now a man’, as many young boys have heard. Again, like a switch is turned on and you ‘become’ a man just like that.

There are countless others that i am sure you have heard, but is having an Attitude of Gratitude one that ‘just happens’?

Again, i am not so sure of that.

it is something that must fully manifest, but, it is my belief, that it must be nurtured and not coerced within us. Not the obligatory ‘love’ you must have for a relatives gift that you are instructed to be thankful for, but true, honest and heartfelt gratitude for the living of life

5 Ways to Instill the Journey of an Attitude of Gratitude

Way 1: It is Thee, not Me

When directing, i would tell the actors a little ditty i penned that would seem to get to the heart of performing.

‘The Me that acts is for Thee alone, but cares not what Thee thinks.’

The concepts here are that you act in appreciation of the audience alone but, at the core, you are not acting for their approval. When any great performance in a movie or play takes you to a level of an appreciation for the story being told and for the lesson contained within, you lose yourself in the story and not the actors or the special effects.

This is why a movie like Star Wars appeals to so many; it is not the special effects, (but, hey, who doesn’t want a lightsaber with them at all times?) but the story of the one no one thinks can who becomes the hero. It is a journey of self discovery we all desire to take. Becoming a Jedi, was becoming bigger that what Luke was but somehow knew he was.

This is gratitude at its core. Becoming something besides yourself.

Way 2: The Details of the Details

I tell my coaching clients that while so many say that the beauty of life is in the details, i tell them to think a bit…smaller. The beauty of life is in the details of the details. This is the true expression of living in the Moment, being Present to yourself, therefore to all.

You see, when you are so in tune with your very surroundings, every sound and nuance that surrounds you, you become a creature that cannot do anything except be grateful.

I can tell you this is a very intricate gesture, but one that, as you practice it, it becomes counter-intuitive to you.

What do i mean? When you become so focused on details within details, you become intrinsically aware of sounds, colors and movements that are so very precious. Watch an animal sleep. Notice every aspect of their fur move as they sleep. notice how they are aware of sounds as they sleep as their ears move and adjust, seemingly unconscious to their very sleeping.

This is a mental exercise that will give you a new appreciation of the beauty of life, but one that must be done to do so.

Way 3: Smile

This may seem years apart from an Attitude of Gratitude, but if you are to just smile in this Now Moment, you will begin to feel a new awareness. Now, suffice it to say, this must be a real smile. Even if you believe you are not in a situation that you believe warrants a smile, do so anyway.

You are here, present in this Now Moment. You made it and there is nothing stopping you from smiling, is there? Besides maybe it would be fun to live the old saying, ‘Smile, it makes people wonder what you have been up to.

Way 4: Focus

This speaks to Way 3; Smiling. If you feel silly just smiling, first, tell the ego to take a hike, for that is the only thing telling you it is ridiculous and the assumptions you give about others looks about you or to you are none of your business. You don’t care.

But the way to really smile is to focus on something tangible within your surroundings. Focus on that object and really think of what went into it. If it is a person or an animal, focus on the details of every aspect of them. What makes you attracted to them. What is pleasing to your senses. Keep emotions out, even though your gratitude will elicit emotions, keep any emotions out initially as you focus. Really look at what ever it is and allow yourself to bask in the appreciation for what it is in every way and smile as you do so.

This will take you to the details of the details and allow you to smile with a genuine heart.

Way 5: Release Yourself

Your experiences have brought you here, but were never meant to be an anchor to hold you at some sandbar of a past point where you briefly ran aground as you sailed the stream of life. You are free to be and to love and to laugh and to appreciate everything. You have been designed to be a creature of joy and of love and this can only be experienced in the grips of a Spirit that appreciates everything in all ways.

To truly live in an Attitude of Gratitude, release yourself to the attitude to begin with. Let go and let the Universe carry you to love in this Now Moment alone. Be like the little boy on his birthday and revel in the gifts of this Present Moment, but unlike the boy, relish the moments with an Attitude of Gratitude for what they are and with those who share them with you.

For herein lies all love.

Have always an Attitude of Gratitude and until then…

Be Excellent, Expect the Best.


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directyourownlife@gmail.comDA Southern is an Author, Speaker, Blogger and a Strategic Life Coach, teaching the spirit of living in Now Moments with the principles he experienced during over 35 years as an actor and director in live theatre. DA coaches his clients to rid life of limiting beliefs that have kept them from achieving miracles in all areas of their life by embracing Mindfulness of the Present Moment with a renewed Vision for life. Contact DA Southern for Coaching or Speaking directyourownlife@gmail.com