Expressing feelings of despair and dissatisfaction are useful for one’s personal growth as long as it is part of a constructive process. There is limited value in beating the drum of ‘how bad everything is’ and ‘how if it were not for this or that our lives would be so much better’. All we really achieve from this kind of activity is pollution and stagnation, which prevents growth. This way of being also means we do not see solutions because we spend too much time living in the problem, which magnifies the problem and extends its influence, which disempowers us in the process.
Expressing what it is we are unhappy with is valuable in order that we can see what needs to be done, but if all we do is complain we create a self-limiting prison for ourselves. It is within this prison that negative beliefs are born. A common sub-conscious belief that limits so many of us is that life seems to punish us and reward others, and there is very little we can do about it. This creates a victim consciousness which can be described as ‘poor me’ but this consciousness is only really useful if it motivates change. If on the other hand we make this mind-set our home, never daring to venture beyond its walls then we slowly die under its influence.
The power of thank you is limitless, the more we find things to be thankful about, great and particularly small then the more growth and well-being floods into our lives. The ‘poor me’ consciousness simply creates a culture of pessimism and negativity, a culture that overshadows our positive state of being. Whereas the vast vocabulary and the colourful language of thank you creates positivity and a real appreciation of things that are so easily overlooked. Thank you helps us to savour life and find beauty and truth, it helps us discover our true nature, abilities and talents. Thank you stokes the fire of creativity and introduces us to higher levels of awareness and consciousness. The thank you process motivates us to act because the appreciation that it produces gives us real power. It is a power that inspires, a power that rejoices more and complains less, a power that realises our lives are dictated most of all by what thoughts we generate in our minds.
The power of thank you is not an attack on the self pitying consciousness because self pity does have a place in our lives. The power of thank you is about understanding one way to move out of self pity and victim-hood. It is about realising that whatever the state of our lives we do have the power and ability to influence things positively. We do not have to wait for chance, or some miracle to bring change to our circumstances, we can create our own miracles by being more thankful.
Starting from today create some thank you statements. Take a close look at your life and find at least half a dozen things you take for granted, or overlook and never really consider the value and importance of. Then make these thank you statements into affirmations that you can recite throughout the day, particularly before you go to sleep at night and before you get out of bed in the morning. By reciting these thank you’s at least twice a day there will be meaningful growth that starts appearing in your life and that growth will eventually bear good fruit. The power of thank you is particularly valuable in the face of life’s challenges and if we can find something to be grateful for, something that can be celebrated, we can and do move forward more quickly taking necessary lessons and truth with us. Remember practice, patience and perseverance guarantee success. So try saying thank you more and watch a different perspective, attitude and set of values and beliefs begin to unfold which will serve to free you from your self limiting prison. It is time to free yourself with the power of thank you.
POWER OF THANK YOU 2
Try out this thought for size; ‘My life is perfect. I have everything that I need and I am truly grateful’. Spend a day reciting this thought in your mind over and over again. If it helps, write it down again and again. Just try for twenty-four hours to truly embrace this thought and see what happens. If there’s even the slightest improvement in your day or how you feel, make a deal with yourself to do it for another day. And why not keep doing this whilst it continues to work for you?
Those of you who are familiar with the Reach Approach will understand that we passionately believe wellbeing is a healthy marriage between mind, body, spirit and environment (see: Story of Health). It’s a beautiful dance between all four, where each performs its role gracefully and harmoniously. It’s a wonderful contract of interdependence where each aspect performs its function with respect for itself and the whole organism. In other words, health is a state of non- rivalry. So therefore, anything we do that spoils the dance, corrupts the contract or contaminates the relationship, denies us health and wellbeing. Complaining does just that. The more we complain, the more we have to complain about. The more we give thanks, the more we will have to be grateful for. This is so simple and in many ways obvious and yet its depth and power is still not fully understood.
Complaining has many forms. It is not simply the act of ‘wittering on’ or grumbling to yourself and others. That’s the obvious expression of complaint. To complain means being frustrated with your life, being dissatisfied with your relationships, doubting yourself, your talents and abilities. It’s a life of comparing and competing, striving to mask your deficiencies and shortcomings; a life of overcompensating in order to be liked and to fit in. It’s a turbulent river of dissatisfaction that runs through the landscape of your life. It eats away at you, telling you you’re not good enough, what you have is not good enough and propels you to pursue things you don’t need to make you feel better about yourself and your reality. Can you relate to this? Are you complaining and haven’t even realised? Our research and clinical experience clearly shows that the majority of people are complaining in some form. They simply aren’t aware of it. Why not take a closer look at your life and note how much you pretend, defend, justify and deny (these are just some of the offspring of complaining)…….. Why not do that now?
Take up our challenge. Develop the habit of ‘thank you’. An attitude of gratitude will completely change your perception and perspective. Just as a culture of complaint has bent you out of shape (distorted your true nature), the practice of ‘thank you’ will not only restore your beauty, it will attract everything you need into your life. Complaining takes you further away from yourself and the truth, whilst ‘thank you’ brings you into a loving embrace with your purpose and potential. In other words, you stop living as a passenger in your own life, wondering which way the vehicle will take you next. Instead you move into the driver’s seat with a confidence in what you need to do and where you need to go. It’s so satisfying. Try this thought; ‘My life is perfect, I have exactly what I need and for that I am truly grateful’. Even though your life may not be perfect and may not be exactly as you wish it to be right now, by daring to think in this way, both your psychology and biology are positively affected. You are what you think you are. Your perceptions and your beliefs do shape your reality. Find things to be grateful for every day and things to be grateful for will come and find you! The laws of cause and effect relate to everything in our world so try sending out the right signals and watch the inevitable return of your preferred outcomes (your dreams). This one act will save your life if you let it. Practice the power of thank you faithfully. It has untold depths and it never disappoints.
THANK YOU FOR THE GIFT OF…..
The more you complain the more you will have to complain about. The more you give thanks the more you will have to be grateful for. The more that you walk a path of appreciation and gratitude, the richer your life will be. This is real wealth, the wealth of peace and contentment, a life that lacks nothing. So our invitation to you is to play the game of saying thank you for the gift of…. The more of these you can generate for yourself, the better. Below are some that we believe are universally applicable.
Thank you for the gift of my enemies and for the opportunities to develop forgiveness and kindness.
Thank you for the gift of this moment, as it allows me to fully blossom into ‘me’.
Thank you for the gift of my friendships and for the love and the support that they bring.
Thank you for the gift of my challenges, for the insight, growth and wisdom that they offer.
Thank you for the gift of each day and the opportunity for greater peace, joy and happiness.
Thank you for the gift of my body and the countless wonders it performs each day.
Thank you for the gift of a life in which I can serve and benefit others with no desire for myself.
Thank you for the gift of sleep and for the renovation and repair that takes place each night.
Thank you for the gift of tomorrow which, when I allow, always adds value and meaning to my life.
Thank you for the gift of silent reflection that offers the unravelling of the mind’s many mysteries.
Thank you for the gift of the inner wisdom that lives deep within my heart.
Thank you for the gift of nature in all her wonderful guises and magnificent forms, she’s amazing!
Thank you for the gift of my life and the opportunity that each day brings for positive change.
Thank you for the gift of my family, who offer me the chance to develop patience and unconditional love.
A life of thank you is a rich and full life. It’s kind to you and those around you. It’s full of smiles and laughter where a gentle river of insight flows continuously through the mind, touching every cell and sinew. A life of gratitude soothes hurts and pain, evaporates anger and reframes your perspective. Why drown in the ‘cesspit of complaint’. Has it ever served you well? Try immersing your mind in the ‘gift of thank you’. It’s power is truly breathtaking. It will undoubtedly redefine your life. If you do anything today, say THANK YOU with all your heart.
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A MIND FULL OF GRATITUDE HAS NO ROOM FOR COMPLAINTS
Where our attention goes our energy flows…What does this mean? Our attention could be compared to a magnifying glass, and the energy that flows in the direction of the magnifying glass could be seen as the sun. We all know that when you hold a magnifying glass over a piece of paper, having captured the rays of the sun, as long as you keep the magnifying glass still, allowing the concentration of the sun’s rays to remain in that spot, the paper will begin to burn. This is an accurate metaphor for understanding the principle that wherever we focus our attention our energy will eventually flow in that direction. The more we maintain that focus the more our energies will conspire to create an outcome that matches our focus. This is such a wonderful feature of being human because it enables us, when we really focus to do the impossible. However, it’s important to note that when our focus is negative the flow of our energy also becomes negative.
This is why we urge you to use this great insight to serve your needs and deepest desires. Fill your mind with gratitude and appreciation and you will discover it is hard to feel anything but happy and fulfilled.Beware of the ‘culture of complaint’ for it will foster bitterness, jealousy and narrow-mindedness. It will lock you into a self-righteousness that sees what is wrong with everyone else and then blames the world for its own misfortunes. This position never allows one to take responsibility. Why would it? It leads one to believe it is perfect and free from making mistakes – such is the arrogance of this stance. So whilst your attention (your focus) remains in a place of blaming and complaining, the intensity of this destructive posture increases, leading you to be slowly devoured by the flames of this illusion. This is why we must fiercely avoid focusing on the negative; otherwise we will be consumed by its destructive power. Unless our intellect and discrimination are active, our negative focus will eventually override everything else, which is also why, conversely, when we are holding our magnifying glass in the right position we can achieve anything! As we harness the awesome power of the sun (the sun in this instance is all our untapped power) we can become all we are capable of being.
Why not cultivate a mind that is full of gratitude, a mind that is saturated in ‘thank you’?… Such a position creates true mental health; a mind and a life that matters on the inside and is not defined by its possessions, postcode, kudos, bank balance etc. These things may well be there and can be appreciated, but such a mind does not depend on the external for its self esteem and self respect. It understands that it is one’s own thoughts and feelings that truly instil value in one’s life and so it busies itself cultivating the right thoughts and feelings. There is no more worthwhile pastime than giving thanks, counting one’s blessings both great and small.
Find some time everyday to truly dwell on something in your life that you take for granted. It might help, at first, to write it down, or to talk about it to some one who’s willing to listen. In the end the aim is to give thanks to such an extent that your appreciation melts your heart and takes you away from looking at this thing from ‘outside’ and instead has you standing ‘inside’ looking out. This means delving so deep within that you truly feel the great debt you owe this blessing. It is not just a matter of saying thank you: that is only the first step. This is about heartfelt contemplation and genuine appreciation. Saying thank you in this way is an emotional experience, as one’s heart and mind are moved beyond an intellectual appreciation into a place of awe and wonder. Choose something or someone you take for granted and spend 15 to 20 minutes focusing kindly on your choice, then watch what happens….
THE ART OF APPRECIATION
There is nothing that gets you to your destination in life quicker than the power of Thank You. Wherever you are, whatever you want to achieve, the power of thank you will take you across the finishing line. Sounds too good to be true? Surely it can’t be that easy! There has to be more to it than that! These are the most frequent cries we hear when this suggestion is offered as a solution to the pain, fear or other obstacles blocking one’s path. However it really is this simple. All it requires is consistent practice (see: Practice makes Permanent). Good habits become virtues, bad habits become vices and if we do something over and over again, it eventually becomes part of us. So it’s your choice. Do you want to collect more vices or do you want to erase them by gathering more virtues?
For those of you who have already begun this journey you will know this practice is truly awesome. It can lift you out of any mood and help you transcend any situation quite quickly. It brings about a feeling of joy and a perspective that brightens the bleakest of moments. Your challenges then no longer seem daunting as all things appear possible. Thank You is the antidote for all your ills. Try it and see. To really experience its full power, however, the act of Thank You must develop into the heartfelt emotion of Appreciation. What’s the difference? … Well, saying Thank You is to look for and count one’s blessings over and over again and though this practice is a wonderful starting point, the danger is that it could become a simple recital, repetitive in nature and no more than a ritual, devoid of true feeling. Appreciation on the other hand is thank you with a heart that’s full of emotion. To achieve this requires a more precise and conscious effort. This is why we call it the Art of Appreciation as it is a skill that one needs to practice in order to develop.
Appreciation is somewhat of a paradox because it can, with the right effort, be mastered quite quickly but do not make the mistake of thinking that simply reading this will be sufficient (see: All You Need to Know). To master the technique you must make it part of your daily routine. Find 15-20 minutes when you can be in solitude and concentrate on just one event each time. Choose something or someone whose real value you have lost sight of and focus on your choice with all your heart. Start by giving thanks, then as you continue begin to become aware of the deep significance and real value that the event or person holds for you. Consider what the subject of your focus means to you, the difference it makes to your life, and how your life would be without it. Don’t rush to get to the end of the process.
To turn Thank You into Appreciation you need to ‘feel’ your way through – literally inhabit your thoughts and allow the feelings that emerge from such genuine contemplation to rise up in you. This is not an intellectual excursion, it is a journey of the heart, a journey of feelings. Celebrate that person or the object of your affections as if you really mean it, as if you may never get that chance again. Embrace whatever you’re focusing on with all that you are. When you focus in this way and with pure and joyous intent the response from within your own heart is beautiful and the direction in which your life moves is filled with countless blessings and surprises.
For those of you who want a life of awe and splendour, a life that provides whatever you need, practice the Art of Appreciation again and again. Make it a way of life. Dwell so deeply in that place of Appreciation that your heart is reluctant to leave. Refuse from this moment to take your life for granted and rejoice daily in both the great and small!
Also see: Gratitude as a Way of Life