Gratitude - My Best Friend

by Mark Sichel, LCSW

Like all of the things of value in our lives, as is everything that is genuine, life-long, fulfilling, and spiritually sound, gratitude is...

  • free.
  • without harmful side effects.
  • totally free of additives -- as pure as pure can be.
  • a plentiful natural resource that is always there when we look for it.
  • about being. It is timeless and has no beginning or end.

    Sometimes when I am fighting my way up a hill, I look to the top and think, "I'll never make it. Why do I have yet another big hill to tackle?" Then I remember to bring gratitude, my best friend, along for the trip, and voila! I have the strength to keep going and keep climbing. Gratitude is a quality that can accompany us on the uphill fights in life -- a trait that is the best medicine for depression, self-pity, fear, and any other psychic pains we may have.

    As a therapist, gratitude is also my best friend. It is a diagnostic tool: If a person can feel gratitude, they will definitely be able to get better. It is probably the best and only treatment for self-pity. It is the motivational speaker inside every one of us. When we feel gratitude and acknowledge our Higher Power's generosity, then we are motivated to be the best we can be. When we are struck by personal tragedy, often the only way to get perspective on our troubles is by focusing on that for which we all have to be grateful. Without gratitude, I believe, a person cannot love another, themselves, or their Higher Power.

    Often it is difficult to remember our best friend, gratitude, particularly when we feel trapped under a black cloud of despair and hopelessness. Those who attend religious services of any kind are helped to focus on gratitude within the rituals and liturgy of their faith. Some of us have no such outlet, and it is to that end that we must learn to create various reminders to ourselves to draw upon our gratitude.

    Some people keep a daily log of gratitude, others create gratitude journals. We have to take these measures, particularly at a time in history where we are so often reminded to buy things and be aware of dangers.

    When we watch the opening of the ten o'clock news, we're asked: "Do you know where your children are?" Wouldn't it be great if the ten o'clock news began with: "Do you feel grateful for your health, your loved one's health, and all the abundance available to you?"

    As an expression of my gratitude, I have created a Gratitude List workshop for anyone to use who has difficulty keeping their gratitude available and present in their lives. In the gratitude workshop you are reminded of possible things to be grateful for in this life. Those items that you want to keep in mind, you check off. When you press "submit," you will have your own personal Gratitude List to use as frequently as you would like.


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