Appreciation & Gratitude
– How to Have It All
By Shawn McAndrew
At the end of each day in the Process, students are asked to write down three appreciations and three gratitudes in their workbooks. I have to admit I was a bit stumped, thinking they were pretty much the same thing.
I wondered if these two sentiments were interchangeable. Maybe, sort of… In Webster’s Dictionary, appreciation is listed as “to think well of; understand and enjoy; esteem; to be fully or sensitively aware of.” Gratitude is described as “a feeling of thankful appreciation.”
In my workbook, I listed a few things: “I appreciate my willingness to improve my life.” “I am grateful for people who are committed to change for the good.”
Appreciation & Gratitude Opportunities
I can be grateful for my willingness to improve my life. I have had many opportunities for introspection and guidance so that I can correct patterns and behaviors, reactions and presumptions. But why I appreciate my willingness to improve my life is that I have taken courageous steps to do so. I appreciate the resources that have been made available to me, as well as the outcomes of my having taken the steps.
I understand how my life might have been had I not been willing to make improvements in my life. I appreciate how different I am now.
I am really grateful there are people who are committed to bringing about change in the world so that our lives improve, society shifts, and humankind becomes better. I also appreciate that there are people in this world who do this work.
This exercise in appreciation and gratitude – during the Process and in life – comes down to shifting focus. When we dwell on bad or negative things, that’s all we see and feel. If we are able to shift our focus and viewpoint onto what else is happening in our lives and the world, perhaps we can see the smiles aimed at us as we walk down the street, the “Thank you” that is expressed when we hold a door for someone, the last few resilient leaves that refuse to drop to the ground in the dead of winter.
We can feel joy when someone says they love us, or embody the sentiment of being told we did a good job on that project we worked so hard to complete. When we start to recognize and acknowledge what brings us joy or positivity each day, we start to re-program those negative thoughts into positive ones.
Whether you choose to say, “I appreciate…,” “I am grateful for …,” or even “Thank you,” the aim is to see or feel something from a different perspective.
Say “Thank You”
One of my favorite quotes, by Meister Eckhart, is, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you’, it will be enough.”
Whether you get down on your knees to pray each night, or you have a meditation practice, or you’re just admiring a flower or butterfly, say “Thank you.” It is a powerful way to bring gratitude and appreciation into your life and the world.
For more information about the Gratitude & Appreciation teleclass now available to listen to, please visit https://www.hoffmaninstitute.org/webinar-teleclass-course-descriptions/