I was walking along the beach the other day doing what so many of us do—thinking about the things in my life that I want to fix—when I noticed a crooked Christmas tree someone had planted in the sand. The tree was leaning far to the left and had an uneven shape.
I wasn’t in the best of moods, so the crooked tree irritated me. I looked away and kept walking. But when I glanced back a few moments later, the tree appeared perfectly straight.
“Got it,” I said out loud, acknowledging the lesson in perspective that I was meant to receive. The tree hadn’t changed, but my vantage point had. Similarly, I needed to shift my perspective on my life.
Immediately, I began thinking about my many blessings. And as I did, I began to feel happier, kinder, more of the world and less caught up in myself. I began to see possibilities rather than roadblocks, beauty instead of annoyances—all because I simply chose to be grateful.
Anyone can learn to do this, and it only takes a few minutes. Do it daily and it’ll knock your socks off.
How to Practice Gratitude
At the beginning of each day, list five things for which you’re grateful. This positive start can carry through the day, helping you view challenges as opportunities.
During the day, if there’s a bump in the road, take yourself back to your list. Notice how this feels in your body and how being grateful affects your words and actions.
Just before bedtime, give thanks again for your blessings. You can do this in your head, but I think it’s more powerful to write them down. This end-of-day practice programs your subconscious with positive, empowering images and helps you create more positivity in your life.
We often use the epitaph “rest in peace” when referring to those who have died. It’s a lovely thought, and one I think we should extend to the living. What if “live in peace” was what we all wanted for ourselves and for others?
Live in Peace
If “live in peace” guided our actions, what changes would we experience in our day-to-day interactions? Imagine:
a business negotiation where the intention was to find a solution that benefits everyone and to put goodness into the world
a conversation with a loved one where kindness was the starting point
a day-to-day interaction—at a restaurant or while commuting, for instance—where your best and kindest self drives your actions
“Live in peace” is my intention for this week. I’m eager to see how pausing to set this intention will change my words and actions.
Will you join me? I’d love to hear how “live in peace” changes your experiences in your work, within your relationships, and in your day-to-day life. Please leave comments here or in my Facebook Group.
Lots of times, we’re trying to get a point across to someone we love and instead, we send a message that we don’t respect them, aren’t listening to them, or don’t trust them. Why? Because we’re often focused on our side of the argument or on what the other person did wrong. What would happen if our communication started out of wanting to find a loving solution? What if, instead of being right, we focused on enhancing the relationship?
What’s Your Intention?
Pause for a moment. From a state of calmness, ask yourself: “What do I intend to accomplish in terms of the quality of the relationship?”
My favorite people are those who consider the impact of their words and actions before speaking, writing, or taking action. They use their words to support and heal. They act in ways that reflect how deeply they care for others. And they use a light hand with those they love.
It’s how they operate in the world, and how they operate internally. They know that how we’re treated begins with us.
A quote from my dear friend Dorothy Rupert sums this up beautifully for me. “Do no harm,” Dorothy says. “Not even to yourself.”
What would happen if we all became aware of the toxic thoughts we direct toward ourselves and replaced them with more positive messages? Would we feel better about ourselves and be able to put more kindness into the world?
Replacing Criticism With Compassion
✓ This week, try to be conscious of how you speak to yourself. Are you diminishing yourself or giving yourself the message that you don’t deserve any better than what you’re currently experiencing?
✓ Pay attention to how your words feel in your body. Do you feel loved or do you tense up?
✓ Rephrase your thoughts the way you would if you were directing them toward a friend. Let your words and thoughts come from a place of love.