“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
Sometimes Angel and I get so caught up pursuing the next big thing, that we forget to pause and appreciate the things we have, and the things we’ve experienced, learned and achieved along the way.
In other words, we forget to give thanks continuously, for all things. Since every step we have taken has led us right to where we are, and all things have contributed to our development, when we finally do pause to give thanks, we try to include ALL things in our gratitude.
So that’s what I want to reflect on today – a few quick reminders about some things you, too, likely forget to be grateful for…
1. The unique privilege of being YOU.
YOU are one of a kind. You are lucky enough to have something that makes you different from everyone else. Embrace your individuality. Self-worth comes from one thing: thinking that you are worthy. So appreciate what it feels like underneath your own skin. You are amazing just the way you are.
Too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to others and wishing to be someone or something we aren’t. Every one of us has our own strengths and weaknesses, and it is only when you accept everything you are, and aren’t, that you will truly find the happiness and fulfillment you seek.
2. Every single experience that led you to today.
Life isn’t about a single moment of great triumph and attainment. It’s about the trials and errors that get you there – the blood, sweat, and tears – the small, inconsequential things you do every day. It all matters in the end – every step, every regret, every decision, and every affliction.
The seemingly useless happenings add up to something. The minimum wage job you had in high school. The evenings you spent socializing with coworkers you never see anymore. The hours you spent writing thoughts on a personal blog that no one reads. Contemplations about elaborate future plans that never came to be. All those lonely nights spent reading novels and news columns and comics strips and fashion magazines and questioning your own principles on life and sex and religion and whether or not you’re good enough just the way you are.
All of this has strengthened you. All of this has led you to every success you’ve ever had. All of this has made you who you are today. (I’ve written about this extensively in the “Goals and Success” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
3. What your daily struggles are teaching you.
Challenges are what make life interesting; working to overcome them is what gives life meaning.
Failure and struggles keep you humble, success and achievement keep you glowing, but only faith and determination keeps you going. So stay focused, and celebrate your efforts too, not just your outcomes.
Remember that the opposite of failing is not succeeding; the opposite of failing is trying. Your daily efforts are what make it all possible. Appreciate what they teach you, even when they don’t lead you to an ideal outcome.
4. The gift of now.
In between all your goals, priorities, obligations, and everything else that might appear on one of your upcoming to-do lists, there are moments called “life” that still have to be lived and enjoyed.
The trick is to make the very best of now, and value it for what it’s worth. In other words, don’t wish all your time away by waiting for better times ahead. Smile, right now, because you can. (Read The Power of Now.)
5. The way every moment is a new beginning.
If you feel stressed and stuck, let go, take a deep breath and appreciate the fact that this moment is a new beginning. Stop thinking about what might have been and starting looking at what can be. Right now is a perfect time to start over. This moment is a brand new opportunity to rebuild what you truly want.
There are three little words that can release you from your past struggles and regrets and guide you forward to a positive new beginning. These words are: “From now on…”
6. The familiar faces, places and situations you rely on daily.
As Cynthia Ozick once said, “We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”
Have you ever noticed that the more familiar you become with an amazing person, a beautiful place, or an ideal situation in your life, the more you seem to take it for granted? It’s like you somehow believe life is supposed to be this way – like it won’t ever change. And most of the time, all the maintenance these wonderful things need is a little time, attention, and deliberate appreciation.
So how often do you pause to appreciate your life and everyone and everything in it? How often do you stop dead in your tracks and think, “Wow, thank you”?
7. A reasonably healthy body.
In other words, if you got sick today you could recover.
Never underestimate the gift of your health. It’s the greatest wealth you will ever own. It’s the foundation for every chance at happiness and success life has to offer. Your body is the only place you will truly ever live.
Respect your body. Eat well. Sleep well. Breathe deeply. Move harmoniously. Daily. (Read Eat Right 4 Your Type.)
8. The fact that you are online reading this.
Not only are you wealthy enough to be online right now, but you can read too.
Believe it or not, only about one third of the world’s population has internet access. And, even crazier than that, there are roughly 774 million people in the world who aren’t educated enough to read.
YOU are one of the lucky ones.
We all have a whole lot to be grateful for. So at the end of the day before you close your eyes, smile and be happy with where you’ve been and grateful for what you have experienced and overcome.
Life is rarely perfect, but it’s always pretty darn good.
What would you add to the list?
What do you sometimes forget to be grateful for?
Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts with the community.
Photo by: Tony Fischer
I forget to believe in myself, and love myself. I forget to be me. It is time that I again believe in myself, love myself, and just be me. I am thankful to be me.
Also thankful for this site. You have helped me in dealing with many issues.
Katherines Corner says
I greet each day in gratitude. I hope I don’t forget anything. Great post. Hugs.
Christy King says
I try not to forget anything, though I’m sure I do. My husband and I have been working hard to live in the moment and to tell each other every day about the things that we’re grateful for.
Dona Miller says
Clean, hot, running water! I think I died in filthy dirty freezing water in a past lifetime because for some reason that I don’t quite understand, this is at the top of my gratitude list every day – a hot shower.
I sometimes forget that I’m done with Leukemia… and that I’m now getting ready to take the bar exams come October. I’ve come a long way.
Always, always love your blog. 🙂
Great post, as always Marc & Angel.
I forget to be grateful for all those times when I prayed that ‘Only if I get this situation sorted, I won’t ever ask for anything else.’ Guess what, every single situation got sorted, yet I ask for more without remembering how much I already have.
Issa O says
I am highly blessed, and I will learn to just stop and say “Wow, Thank You Lord.” Thank you for reminding me.
Nasiya Mansiya says
Just like my religion teaches me, that no matter how bad my situation is there’s always a silver lining in the clouds. As bad as my situation might be, there’s someone else out there who’s in a far worse place than I am and I should be grateful for the problems I don’t have. Always look at those below you rather than above you to make you more grateful for what you have. Selam.
Thank you, Marc. I needed this post. It’s a good reminder to live in the moment, appreciate the people around me, and all that has led me to my life now.
Another great post!
For some reason I also think of water. Even though I’ve always lived in an area with plenty of fresh water, there are so many people who don’t. Being able to just turn on the tap and take a drink of clean, cold water is a privilege that many people don’t have.
Life is always good , the past has no power over me now . I’m one with the power that have created me . I love myself and I’m loveable . I’m free to do anything I want , I am happy and calm . There is no barrier in life . It’s a wonderful feeling to be alive <3
Dona – That’s true, hot running water and electricity. So appreciated. And ponds, clean, still water and the people in my life right now. Wow! I am so lucky!
I am grateful for good friends who love and support me when I’m stumbling. I’m also grateful to have found MARCANDANGEL! It’s like calling a friend.
The mornings and my morning walks.
Grateful to wake up to another day.
Thanks for this. Life is a series of mountains and valleys, ups and downs. And I’ve been wandering in a valley for a couple of weeks now. It’s frustrating and I know well enough that it’s up to me to find my path back out. I’m just tired. But little reminders like this to be grateful for the simple things that I do have, even during darker times, are appreciated. Thanks.
At 78 years if age, I am grateful that I still have more time to experience this beautiful life.
Thanks for these reminders.
I would add to be grateful for clean water. Our bodies need water. We drink water, take showers and/or baths, wash our clothes and vehicles, etc. Be grateful for water. Be grateful that you can walk into your kitchen (another thing to be grateful for, your home) and turn on the faucet and clean water comes out of the tap.
Have a great weekend!
You pretty much nailed all the main reasons to be grateful!
The other thing is all the opportunity I was blessed to have access to. Not everyone gets the same access to opportunity.
Your posts are always so awesome Marc…
The toughest thing for me to remember is to let go, be grateful for what I have, and start afresh again.
Thanks for being there through your inspiring blog posts 🙂
Life is beautiful!
(Another Jennifer here)
Hi Marc and Angel!
For about a year I have been peeking at your site. A friend of mine, Victoria, is always posting some great thoughts or intriguing quotes on her Facebook page, and she gives credit to you two, generally something that is absolutely relevant to my circumstances. So, I’m grateful to have been introduced to you and have this opportunity to say thank you.
It’s interesting that you quote Epicurus for this thread, sheds a whole different view on that philosophy – I grew up in a religion that commonly looked down on “live for today” and truly warned us against being like the Epicureans..huh…? Here you use a quote that again gives pause, as well as educating me about another facet of this “live for today” mindset.
Grateful I’m still malleable and teachable after all these years . You guys are great.
I love all of you, thank you for being positive forces in my life (and I in yours).
What do you sometimes forget to be grateful for?
I am pretty good about being grateful for everything in life…. Little things like the sunrise that comes over the trees by my house in the morning and EVERY morning it looks like a cross when it does. I think that this is GOD’S way of reminding me GOOD MORNING the day is new and you should be greatful that you have this day and the power to choose your destiny in life. When we have gratitiue and are greatful it says something about being comfortable in your own skin.
The past 18 months of my life have been very challenging as I watch my father continue to battle for his life. In an instant my world was turned upside down, and I found that it was very easy to get wrapped up in the continuing stress of the situation. I found myself constantly down and sad, but one day I realized there is still so much good that needs to be recognized. A good friend of mine gave me a blank journal as a gift. I have been using it as my appreciation journal and write something each day for which I am grateful: the unseasonable crisp mornings as of late, air conditioning on a hot day, the fact that I am able to take a deep breath when I am stressed…and the fact that my father is still living. When your word seems to be crumbling, it’s so easy to lose sight of the (not so) little things. But it’s very comforting to know there is still so much to be grateful for.
I am thankful for my Mother. Gone for several years…but not really. She failed at many things. She succeeded at many things.She never begged or pleaded and everyone she met was delightful to her.She had many things to complain about, and never did. She went out quoting, “It’s been a wonderful life!”
Mary Lynn says
I am in a great deal of physical pain. The pain reminds me that I am here! I fight my disease everyday and am grateful for my family and modern medical research. Interesting that when I am with my grandchildren, the pain seems to be on a different plane and not in my body!
My children and their constant reminder to be present in every moment, because the time passes so quickly.
David Rapp says
“What I am grateful for…”
“Who I am grateful for…
“Where I have been, where I am and where I will go. I am grateful for….
“How I have been, how I am, and how I will be…I am grateful for
“When things happened and did not happen, how the universe unfolds now and in the future I am grateful for….
I am thankful for still having a lot of positive people in this world like you! Who help those of us with daily stuggles. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
Cecil McIntosh says
My business is based on the amazing teachings of my grandmother and I sometimes forget to be grateful for the profound legacy she left me.
I would also add gratitude for my wonderful parents. They taught me many things, two of which are “live and let live” and “do unto others…”. Two of the most important things in life to remember. If everyone in the world did these simple things, there would be no war or cruelty. They have been gone for 5 years now, and I miss them every day.
Thank you both for this post! I’m grateful for your blog as well and continued inspiration. And this post is a good reminder of not taking life for granted so often.
I usually do try to be grateful for all my past experiences. Some difficult, some painful and some felt like they didn’t serve me well, but every single experience I’ve had has helped me be the person I am today.
The various previous careers brought me to my current one and some are not quite related to what I do today. and my previous personal experiences and relationships led to so much growth and development. I am so grateful for it.
Sometimes in life, we get what we don’t deserve. Like compassion from someone we treated badly, like prayers from someone we never thought to pray for, like dignity and love from someone we pulled entitlement on, or truth from someone we betrayed or lied to. I’m thankful for those things we don’t deserve.
Love this post (and so many of your posts really), but this one strikes with something I’ve been struggling with lately … Maintaining my daily gratitude journal. Thanks for the reminder that the fact it’s been one of my “problems” is truly something to be grateful for in itself when so many others are worse off than me. Thank you, thank you. Oh, and I am so grateful for hot showers as well … they are the best!
ANITA L says
I recite a gratitude list every day before I go to bed, starting with “A” and finishing “Z”. It doesn’t take me long because I usually fall asleep as I’m going through it, but it does a great job to remind me to be grateful.
Please don’t stop writing these powerful messages. I’m going through a bumpy time in my life right now. Your blogs reboot and restore me. Thank you.
A spirit of gratitude defines a life that is positive, uplifted, open. Willingly sharing our gratitude to others for their place, their impact, their presence in our lives reaps an abundance of benefits for all. It truly is life giving. When life was difficult, that is when I learned the power of gratitude, and how blessed I already am, even when things don’t look the way I thought they would at this age (53).
Thank you so much for this. I needed to be reminded of how it’s important to be grateful, especially when you go through challenging times.
Elizabeth G. says
I am grateful to be sober.
I am grateful for this moment.
I am grateful for my life.
Candace Staples says
How blessed I am that I survived, against the odds. 🙂
Grateful to be alive, grateful to be learning how to let go of the past…learning there is nothing to fear anymore…grateful to have made a new friend who understands what I have been through as he has had a similar experience….grateful to have found this site, still feel a higher power led me here……
Gratitude for so many things: God, the fact that I don’t have God’s responsibilities and that I can put all of my faith and trust in Him; for Jesus, who died on the cross for all of our sins; for the Holy Spirit, who comforts and accompanies us.
For my Grandmother, who shaped my life so much and loved me unconditionally.
For my Mother, who encourages me every day and makes me truly think about everything and to question without blindly accepting things I hear or read.
For my Father, who shows me that age is a number, not a sentence. He looks better at 80 than he did at 70.
For my Stepmother, who still reminds me that order and gracefulness in life bring peace to everyone concerned, even though it may seem harsh when learning about it.
For my Brother, who reminds me that peace and stillness in life are a virtue, not a negative thing.
And, honestly, for my Sister, who loves me even when she is driving me crazy. She is so dear to me.
‘I forget to believe in myself, and love myself. I forget to be me. It is time that I again believe in myself, love myself, and just be me. I am thankful to be me.
Also thankful for this site. You have helped me in dealing with many issues’
I totally agree with Betsy…to add a little more…
i also believe in the quote at the beginning..
.“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
I am grateful to life. When I close my eyes and start to think of what I have, I feel I have discovered an eternal connection that has given so much fulfillment and peace. Eternal it is. Life has so much good things to offer. We need to be a free spirit to be able to understand and embrace the truth, take responsibility of what we do and develop a positive outlook.
So often we forget all the things that we have and keep thinking about that which we don’t have or that which we want… Thank you for the gentle reminders… Love reading your blog and your thoughts…
“Live life and Love life love living life”
I would add to the list being grateful for going to college and not letting my autism get in the way of that. I don’t know many people other than Temple Grandin who are autistic and attend college. They might be undiagnosed. But that’s a good thing to be grateful for. I’m looking forward to starting another semester at school.
Sumant Kumar says
I am grateful for all that happened on 29th January, 2013 and support I got during my stay in Life Care Hospital, Indore, India .
I am thankful for silence. It’s harder to find in our plugged in world, but it’s there. Quiet times are gifts.
I’m reading this article while I’m working. Though my work is really exhausting, I’m really grateful to have this job.
Thanks for this reminder, hugs.