A Grateful Heart
My first experience with Thanksgiving as a foreigner was love at first sight. The food prepared with so much love and enthusiasm was delicious and very different from anything I have ever experienced before. The family gatherings and the warmth around it were a beautiful experience and gave me another opportunity to be grateful. After my first Thanksgiving experience 39 years ago, I still look forward to that holiday year after year. Thanksgiving, though, needs not be something we do once a year.
Growing up in my home country I was surrounded by scarcity and I remember being grateful, at a very young age, for the simple things in life like my ability to walk, to talk, to see, to have food to eat and a bed to sleep on. I remember my parents didn’t have a good relationship, but I found a way to be grateful that I had parents. In my work as a counselor and life coach, I have learned that gratitude can be an antidote to fears, worries and unhappiness.
Gratitude can change your life for the better. Modern research tells us that people who have a regular gratitude practice tend to be happier, healthier, and more successful. My gratitude practice has evolved over the years. Now besides my regular gratitude practice I have learned to be grateful for the things I want to attract into my life as if they have already occurred. This is something new that I learned along the way. It brings more peace and tranquility into my heart at the same time that it helps me move forward in spite of the challenges that life gives me.
We are often unaware that one of the conditions to have a grateful heart is that you have to have a forgiving heart as well. Without emptying your heart from old resentments, hurts and grudges toward yourself and others it is hard to fill it with gratitude. And forgiveness is a choice we make moment by moment. I have found it to be very liberating to forgive everyone who has hurt me or offended me in the past, present, and future. That practice clears my mind and my heart allowing me to enjoy life to the fullest in the present moment.
You can begin today with a gratitude practice and bring more joy and inner peace into your heart. You can have a gratitude journal and writing just one or two sentences daily about what you are grateful for that day. By the time next Thanksgiving comes around you will have over 365 things to be thankful for. When you are in bed, before you fall asleep go over everything that went well that day, be grateful for the people who you love and the ones that share that love with you and for all that came your way that day from the abundant universe that we live in. When you wake up in the morning is also an opportunity to be grateful for all the wonderful things that are about to happen in your day. Make it a practice to tell others how grateful you are that they are in your life. And remember that you are being grateful when you choose to not complain or criticize others.
I hope you make the choice to begin today a forgiveness and gratitude practice that will allow you to bring more joy and wellness into your life. Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Veronica Correa, LCSW-C, is a licensed clinical social worker, certified hypnotherapist and life coach.
To learn more about her work visit: www.thepersonalwellnesscenter.com
or call 410-742-6016