Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I know gratitude is on everyone’s mind. After all, isn’t that what this holiday is all about? (Well, that and turkey and pilgrims and stuff). But at some point, we all take a moment to focus on the things we are grateful for.
This comes easier for some people than it does for others. I know people that always seem to focus on the things they don’t have, rather than being appreciative of the things they do have.
I strongly believe that gratitude and joy go hand in hand. If you aren’t grateful for the people and things you have in your life, you can’t experience true joy.
You’ll always be wishing and wanting for something different and you’ll miss out on the joy that you could be experiencing right now.
Gratitude helps you live in the here and now, rather than waiting for something or someone better to come along.
So how do you change if this is something you struggle with?
I absolutely love this quote from Tony Robbins and it perfectly sums up the answer to that question:
“Turn your expectations into appreciation and your whole life will change.”
Thankfully, I learned this lesson a long time ago. Then I came across this quote from Tony and realized he stole my idea! But seriously, he’s so right. Learning this has been life-changing. Here’s just a couple of examples of how I applied this principle to my life:
- I stopped expecting gifts on holidays and birthdays and just let myself feel (and express) gratitude for what I did receive.
- I stopped expecting my husband to do things around the house without asking and started expressing appreciation when he did them. (Oh and by the way, here’s a marriage tip for you…if I really want my husband to do something, I just ask him to do it and then say “thank you” when it’s done. I don’t expect him to read my mind! Such a crazy idea, right?)
I could go on and on with examples but I bet you are starting to get the picture.
And you know what happens when you truly start to live this principle?
You free yourself from the pain of other people letting you down.
You free yourself from always feeling disappointment.
You free yourself from feeling entitled to things.
You can’t experience joy when you are feeling let down, disappointed, or entitled.
Okay, so I’ve got you convinced that you need to replace your expectations with appreciation. But maybe you still don’t know what you need to do to change. Here are the three simple things you can do right now to begin your transformation:
- Decide that you are going to replace expectations with gratitude. This is an important first step. Commit to wanting to change your mindset.
- Consider the areas of your life where you tend to demand or expect things without expressing appreciation for them. Take a moment and jot them down on a piece of paper. Make a commitment to each one of them to start toning down your expectation and start showing more gratitude.
- Say “Thank You” more often. Even when it’s for things that people should be doing. You’ve got to train your brain to express your gratitude more often. The more you do it, the more natural it will feel.
It takes practice and focus, but it really is as simple as these three things. And I promise you that if you consciously make an effort to replace expectations with appreciation, you will experience more joy in your life every day.
Now it’s your turn. Tell me your thoughts about replacing expectations with appreciation. How have you been able to experience more joy and gratitude in your life?