I’m not really sure how I initially stumbled into today’s guest blogger, Karen Gill, but I am so glad life took me that direction. Karen was kind enough to chat with me four or five entrepreneurial ideas ago when I was looking for a commercial kitchen. She has taught me a bunch then and since. In between, she took a year off from Milwaukee (!!) to travel the world with her husband. Talk about a hero and a legend!
I don’t have too much else to say to introduce her post. I feel like Karen hits the nail on the head when it comes to her definition of gratitude, so without further ado…
My issues? Slight depression, critical judgments, lack of drive, general crabbiness. Like most of us, if I focus on these issues, I feel pain. Sometimes deep emotional and often, physical pain. Yuck. What I really take issue with is feeling pain. So instead of wallowing and feeling yucky, I go to my toolbox. Sitting on the top, ready and generally easy to grab, are forgiveness and gratitude. These two tools, used often and with purpose, will always make me feel better, allowing me to be pain-free and letting my “issues” dissolve.
Let me explain.
Most of us have been wronged by someone. A careless driver sideswipes your car, your co-worker stole your new sales idea and presented it to the boss, a loved one never acknowledges the birthday gift you send every year. These are unfair acts and cause us pain from anger or sadness. We complain about these acts and stew on them as we fall asleep at night. We want an apology or acknowledgement or a peace offering for the wrong we have been handed. And most of the time we will not get it. Time passes and the only person still in pain from a past hurt is…..you. Wanna stop the pain? Forgive.
Forgiveness is giving forth of your love again. To the person who wronged you, to yourself, to the world. Forgiveness is not a quid pro quo deal–it doesn’t demand compensation first. It does not require justice to be served or apologies to be exchanged. It simply requires your participation to let go of the pain and love again. Sounds hard? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely!
There are many ways to achieve a forgiving state.
- Letter writing
- Seeking therapy
- Taking care of yourself
- Giving to over to a higher power
- Hawaiian Ho’oponopono prayer
And one of the quickest ways to achieve forgiveness is to focus on something greater. Something like a substantive quality of life, something never-changing, always affirming…like gratitude!
There is a growing body of evidence that shows that people who incorporate gratitude in their lives on a regular basis are happier and healthier. Studies are showing grateful people can live longer, be emotionally stronger, have better relationships, excel at their jobs and have improved self-esteem.
Focusing on the good in our lives and on the relationships and things we do have can bring the peace so many of us are hoping to achieve.
Here are some ways to achieve a state of gratitude:
- Create a Gratitude Journal and write in it each day
- Appreciate each moment of NOW for what it is
- Write thank you or blessing notes to others
- Give to others: time, things, money
- Make a list of 100 things, people, experiences that you are grateful for (editor’s note – OR maybe just 30 points? 🙂 )
From my experiences, when I use the tools of forgiveness and gratitude, I feel on top of the world. I am friendlier, more helpful, calmer and pain-free. Because life IS what it is, I will have plenty of chances to practice using these tools. “Issues” will come up again and again, giving me the opportunity to master forgiveness and gratitude. And for that I AM GRATEFUL.
Want more resources?
- Radical Forgiveness, by Colin Tipping
- Forgiving the Unforgivable, by David Stoop
- Gratitude: A Way of Life, by Louise L. Hay
- Count Your Blessings: The Healing Power of Gratitude and Love, by John F. Demartini
- Day of Forgiveness and Gratitude Course in Milwaukee, June 2014
More About Karen Gill
I forgive myself for eating too much. I am grateful that I cook most of that “too much” food myself, using local and organic ingredients.
I forgive myself for being judgmental. I am grateful that I have a loving husband and dog who stick by my side, no matter what.