Enjoying Life in a Richer Way

Enjoying Life in a Richer Way - Thankfulness

Have you ever wondered how some people seem to enjoy life more than others? It seems these people just don't have all the difficulties others do. Or if they do have difficulties, they just are "unique" in their ability to cope.

I disagree with those two premises. I have found in my own life the secret to enjoying life in a richer way is to have an attitude of gratefulness, to have a spirit of thanksgiving. When I have not been grateful, I typically have focused on one thing not going my way. I became down and saw things in a negative way. When I am grateful, EVERYTHING looks better.

Looking at the negative in life has become so easy, a habit for many people. Every advertisement tells you that your life is not complete unless you buy their product, smell a certain way, get your tummy tucked, own a bigger house, car, boat, etc. or get a new spouse. Do you have the best insurance? If not, how can you be happy? quack, quack.

It is the American way to want and get more. The idea being: "The more I have, the happier I will be." Unfortunately that is not the case. Why does it seem that some of the poorest people are the happiest? How can they enjoy life when they have so little?

The answer lies in one's perspective.

If you are always wanting more, coveting what your neighbor has or seeing how someone else is getting a better deal, wife, house, job, etc., then you will look at life with a tainted eye. 'You are not getting enough.'

If you focus your whole happiness on things going your way, you will be miserable, possibly depressed and can become cynical. We often put so much emphasis on one area that it taints us in all areas. We can't see anything good in any situation, when, in actuality, everything is great. Circumstances are just not working out as we would have it.

For instance, "We pay the bills but don't have "enough" money. Our job is not secure. My wife does not meet all my needs. My kids could be better."

But, if you look at what you do have and are grateful, you will be freed to enjoy what you have. It will free you up to see how truly blessed you are. If you are in America, you are truly blessed, no matter how bad your circumstances.

Unfortunately, having a grateful heart is not so easy. As mentioned, advertisements tell us not to be grateful but to want more. We are taught to look ahead (for more) not behind to see what others don't have compared to us. Having a grateful heart actually requires a person to say "I have enough."

Developing a grateful heart truly enables you to enjoy life so much more. A grateful heart enables you to take the focus off yourself and place it on helping another. People who have felt they have achieved meaningful significance in life report that it is typically when they are helping another.

How does one develop a grateful heart? First, start each day by vocally (say it out loud) being thankful for something. It may be a good night's rest, a meal, a job, etc. "I am thankful for my family." Others need to hear you being thankful. It will then be contagious.

Second, tell yourself that you are a thankful, grateful person. Do it as a vocal affirmation "I am a grateful person. Life is good."

If you are in a difficult situation, find something good in it and write or say the positive. If nothing is good in that situation, find other things that are good and talk about them.

The overall point is to look for the good; make a conscious decision every day to see the good in your life: your spouse, your kids, your job, etc, then tell another. Get your family involved in seeing the good. Discuss how grateful you are at a meal.

In our family, we just started the "I am thankful" bowl. When we think of something we are thankful for, the person writes it on a small piece of paper and places it in the bowl. It is now starting to fill up. We are going to start reading these at a meal.

Help your kids go beyond being thankful for things and situations that just benefit them. Help them be thankful for other people and other people's uniqueness. Help them be thankful even for adversity, for it makes us stronger.

Talk about being thankful and having a grateful heart.

Lastly, check your words. Do more complaints come out of your mouth than blessings or positive statements? Are you cynical looking for the negative? Do you easily find fault with another?

Being thankful or grateful requires the right attitude. The right attitudes are developed as a habit as are the wrong attitudes.


God is good and has given us rich blessings. Focus on giving a blessing to another in word, deed, or gift. Show your gratitude by sharing.

Give thanks to God Psalm 106:1
"Praise the LORD !Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His loving kindness is everlasting."

Giving thanks for others 2 Thessalonians 1:3
"We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater"

Give thanks in everything I Thessalonians 5:18
"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus"

If you are having trouble being grateful, ask God for help. Ask Him to open your eyes up to His goodness and the goodness that is all around you.


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