Being a mother puts a whole new perspective on being happy. Before I was a mother, being happy was important but not like it is now that I have two little ones running along beside me. I mean before I became a mother things like having a boyfriend, going to college, having friends who were fun to be with and feeling good about how I looked were happiness to me. Then I had two babies and suddenly the meaning of happiness became so much deeper. Happiness was feeling grateful for every moment. It was strange at first. I remember having to wake up every few hours during the night to feed my littlest one and thinking about how exhausted I was from not sleeping and how I should be miserable but yet I found intense joy sitting there in the quiet darkness as my baby happily ate and fell back to sleep. I was and still am grateful for all of the middle of the night feedings I had to get up for. As a mother, I realized that love is there in every moment of our lives. When you have children, they are a source of unconditional love that comes without doubt, fear or expectations. They are the example of ultimate love in our lives. No matter what happens you cannot not love your children and because there is no doubt or expectations tied in with your ability to love them, you are able to experience the true power of being grateful.
I’ve come to learn that there is such a close and intimate relationship between love, happiness and gratefulness. If you feel one, you feel the others to some degree. This is one thing that I truly appreciate about mothers. You can always sense the pure energy of the three in them because as I explained above being a mother comes with unconditional love that is pure and creates gratefulness and happiness that is also pure.
But often times as any single mom knows, our sense of gratitude is muddied by everyday issues that we worry about. We tend to give more energy to the things that cause us to worry than the things that cause us to feel grateful. But as I’ve learned the things that cause us to worry such as bills, getting the house cleaned and finding time to help the kids with homework aren’t near as important as the things that we are grateful for. So let’s forget about the stupid annoying things that cause us to worry for a while and let’s instead turn our attention to gratitude. Why? Well if I haven’t made it obvious yet, this pretty much spells it out for you… because gratitude is the easiest and most resistant free path to love and happiness.
To feel love, you have to feel gratitude. Sure you can demand that someone act the way you want them to act and be the way you want them to be and when they don’t, get disappointed, angry and hurt. You can do this and say that you love them. A lot of people do this. Or you can grateful for someone being who they truly are. Even if they don’t act in a specific way that you want them to, just stop expecting and focus on the aspects of every person that contributes to their uniqueness and true self. Give every person (including your children) the space to be who they are without expectations and allow yourself to feel grateful for experiencing someone as they truly are. When you give gratitude for someone being who they truly are no matter how they fit into your life, you create pure love for that person and you create the space for others to give you the same.
To feel happy, you have to feel gratitude. A lot of us always see happiness as something to be achieved. Something to be found at the finish line of a race full of hard work and obstacles to overcome. Happiness always seems to be projected into the future. We think we’ll find happiness when we fall in love or when we’ll have more money or more of anything that we don’t have or don’t have enough of right now. But the truth is that happiness is not a goal. Happiness is available for you right now no matter what is going on in your life. All you have to do is feel gratitude and you’re there! You can’t have gratitude without happiness. Just find one thing no matter how big or little in your life that you’re grateful for and think about it and the joy it brings to your life. Next thing you know, you’re smiling because you’re happy. It’s so easy.
I’ve created a simple list of things to be grateful for and for the next 15 days, I want you to take at least 10 minutes out of your day to feel grateful for the simple things in your life. The purpose of this exercise is to create more happiness in your life and to make you smile for at least the next 15 days. So below is a list of 15 things (1 for each day). Every day look at what is listed for that day and take 10 minutes to just think about and appreciate what that thing is for you and what it means in your life. You will create gratitude, love and happiness. You can even do this for longer than 10 minutes and more than 15 days but this is a simple exercise to show you how easy it is to create gratitude, happiness and love in your life…
Day 1 What smell are you grateful for?
Day 2 What color are you grateful for?
Day 3 What food are you grateful for?
Day 4 What book are you grateful for?
Day 5 What movie are you grateful for?
Day 6 What ability are you grateful for?
Day 7 What season are you grateful for?
Day 8 What person in your life are you grateful for?
Day 9 What part of your body are you grateful for?
Day 10 What quality about men are you grateful for? (Have fun with this one)
Day 11 What knowledge are you grateful for?
Day 12 What life experience are you grateful for?
Day 13 What about your child/ren are you grateful for?
Day 14 What day of the week are you grateful for?
Day 15 What sound are you grateful for?
You deserve to feel gratitude. You deserve to feel love. You deserve to feel happy. So make it a point every day to pay attention to the good in your life because the good things that bring you joy are the only things that matter. The rest has no power in your life.