A Deeper Sense of Gratitude

I’m always encouraging an attitude of gratitude. I write my “Five Daily Gratitudes” and make a point of noticing the blessings in life. But I had an epiphany last night. I realized: it’s so easy to be grateful for the things that make us naturally happy but what about taking it a step further? What if we were grateful even for the things that annoyed us or made us feel frustrated?

It all began when I met up with my friend and fellow author, Jordan Brown, yesterday for breakfast. She’s one of the most positive people I know and I love hearing her outlook on life. She gave me her book, The Girl’s Guide to Loving Life afterward and I’ve been reading it ever since. She also embraces gratitude but I love how she finds appreciation even in the toughest places.

For example, while many of us dread taking an exam, Jordan is thankful for an education. In fact, yesterday she said how much she absolutely loved school—how happy it made her. She is getting her Masters in School Counseling—go Jordan! After hearing her outlook, I thought about how I was dreading going back to school after winter break. Hearing her perspective was a huge wake up call for me. I should be immensely grateful for having the opportunity to go to school. I go to UCLA—and I should be thanking my lucky stars for it, not cursing the situation instead. Many girls around the world would die for an education. In fact, Malala Yousufzai almost did while fighting for young women to have an equal opportunity to learn. I think I’ll think twice before I start to sulk about heading off to class.

Sure, it’s not always easy to get up on a Monday morning or stay up late studying for a final. But there is so much good to be had in it! Let’s be grateful we have a place to learn and that information is so accessible to us now (I’ll take the internet over a set of outdated encyclopedias any day!) I’m so thankful that Jordan turned the light on even the darkest situations. After just a day of choosing to see the sunny side of the gloomiest days, I’m feeling so much happier already.

It’s easy to be happy when everything is going our way. But finding something to give thanks for no matter what the situation is a new level. Suddenly, whatever seemed so awful and unpleasant doesn’t seem so bad once we’ve chosen to change our outlook. So while I was digging my heels on going back to class, now I have a little skip to my step. Sure, I still rather be on break but I know I’ll be having fun and enjoying winter quarter once I get going. Back to school means seeing friends once more, taking (hopefully) interesting classes, and setting new goals. What’s not to be happy about?

I encourage you to take your gratitude to the next level. While it’s important that we recognize the blessings in our lives, I think it’s time to look deeper at the hidden tokens of appreciation. It will make our happiness resonate all the more. And in the meantime, I highly recommend you pick up Jordan’s book—you’re going to love it!

To “like” Jordan’s Facebook page, you can go here: http://www.facebook.com/girlsguidetolovinglife?group_id=0

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

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