Silver Linings and Vocabulary Changes: A tutorial in gratitude

“Your daily life is your temple and your religion. When you enter into it take with you your all.” – Kahlil Gibran

I love this quote, and I love anything written by Kahlil Gibran. I am sure some feathers might experience a little ruffling with the temple and religion reference, but I am certain if you are here to read this blog, you can get around that to continue reading. So, join me for a lesson in developing an attitude of gratitude.

I am tempted to launch into a lecture about ungrateful behavior, but that seems, well, ungrateful. I am grateful for the examples of ingratitude I can reference in my own mind, because they shine a light on areas in need of improvement in my life. I believe that every person enters our lives for a reason, even if “just” someone you witness while running errands. Have you ever noticed bad behavior, and then found yourself judging the person? I sure have. I think myself relatively non-judgmental, but I catch myself in that old pattern once in a while. I did this morning while sitting in the waiting room at urgent care with my daughter (all is well, thankfully).

A very young woman with an adorable two-year old daughter tall enough to be four or five, and heavy enough to be considered obese, was also waiting. I first caught myself judging her for allowing her child to be overweight. Then I caught myself judging her for talking about how bright and articulate her little girl was. After that I caught myself judging her for how loudly she was chastising her sweet little girl for climbing on the chairs (she is only two after all.) I suddenly realized how easy it was for me to slip into the judgmental mode, and stopped myself immediately – but not until I had already consciously judged her at least three times. I reminded myself that everyone has their own story, and it’s none of my business how someone else raises their children unless I witness abuse; then all bets are off. You might be wondering why I am talking about my judgmental attitude if I am writing about gratitude. In catching myself judging a fellow mother, I realized that I go to that judgmental place when I am fearful, for whatever reason, and it is my way of deflecting responsibility – a very clear example of a lack of gratitude.

Along the lines of fearfulness and a need to shift to gratitude, I will share another personal story. When my daughter was born, she failed her hearing test in the hospital. When she failed it again at an audiologist’s office three weeks later, I was really scared. I had no idea what a ‘failed hearing test’ meant – if my daughter was deaf, if we would need to learn sign language, how that would affect our family, if kids would tease her for wearing hearing aids, and the list of fears goes on. By the time all of the testing was complete, she was diagnosed with a mild-to-moderate hearing loss, and received her first pair of hearing aids at just 9 weeks old. In the very moment the audiologist turned the aids on, she was speaking to us about how to use them, and my beautiful baby turned her head, looked right at the audiologist and cooed, as if to say, “OH! That’s how you sound! Thank you!” Tears of joy, relief, and most importantly, gratitude, flowed freely.

In grappling with the uncertainty, I found myself saying, “This is not life-threatening. Her heart and all life-sustaining organs function perfectly well. She is healthy.” But until I had some kind of “proof” that she was going to be OK, those thoughts were scarcely enough. In the time that has passed – my daughter is now eight – life has brought me numerous opportunities to move from scared, worried, angry and negative to grateful. Sometimes I find myself expressing gratitude for a lesson I’m about learn, for in the midst of a trial, I cannot see the wisdom, but I trust that I will learn from it.

I share these personal stories to help you understand that we are all learning, always. We are beautiful works in progress, and every day we can learn something new. Waking up ready to embrace each day and learn from it is a step toward an attitude of gratitude. How else can you shift your thinking and ultimately free yourself from negativity, self-sabotage and other unnecessary burdens? There are a number of ways, and I will address two starting points: change your vocabulary and look for the silver lining. I will likely write more on gratitude at a later date.

Change your vocabulary. Yes, it’s that simple. Change your speech and thought patterns:

Instead of: “Try”

Change to: “I do”

Instead of: “I should do X”

Change to: “I could do X; I choose Y”

Instead of: “Have to”

Change to: “I intend”

Instead of: “I don’t have enough money”

Change to: “I am blessed with abundance”

Instead of: (an immediate) “No”

Change to: “Hmm, let me think about that”

Instead of: “This always happens to me”

Change to: “I’m grateful to recognize a pattern I can change”

Look for the silver lining. That may sound a little pie-in-the-sky (in the true meaning: promising heaven while continuing to suffer on earth) but I assure you that when you look for the positive in things, you will begin to find it. Does that mean you will live a life free of difficulties and trials? Absolutely not, but how you handle life’s ups and downs is key. Find the good in things. Remember there is always opportunity to learn. For that, I am always grateful.

I wish you the best on your journey as you make small changes that have tremendous impact, and I am grateful for you.

Blessings. Gratitude. Love.

About powerstrengthgrace

I lay out my intention for this blog: to share my experiences with others and direct my clients here for their personal growth. I hope to show the reader that one can be mindful without having to go to extremes. Balance and simplicity are key, and I have learned that valuable lesson time and again. About me: First, I am a mother. Secondary, but also very important: entrepreneur, fitness professional, business woman, writer, public speaker. I live in the DC metropolitan area and have created a fulfilling life for myself and my children. My career path has been interesting and varied. I have worked in research & management for a telecoms association, managed health clubs, consulted on housing market development in third world nations, and finally, have become self-employed in corporate wellness and private lifestyle management coaching. I hope that you take something with you every time you visit, and I thank you for sharing with friends, co-workers and family members.
This entry was posted in Abundance, Alone Time, Attraction, Celebration, Closure, Comfort Zone, Conflict, Core Belief, Determination, Empowerment, Encouragement, Energy, Exercise, family, fitness, Forgiveness, Friends, Girlfriends, Gratitude, Help, Infidelity, Inspiration, Integrity, Jobs, Law of Attraction, life coaching, lifestyle management, Listening, Love, Luck, Manifestation, Marriage, meditation, energy, chanting, workout,, Metaphysics, Money Management, Motivation, natural medicine, New Beginnings, Passion, Patience, Peace, personal growth, Physical Exercise, Pleasure, Power of Receiving, Power of Words, Procrastination, Relationships, relaxation, Respect, Responsibility, Self Improvement, Self-Help, Smile, Spirit of a woman, spirituality, Stress, The Four Agreements, Think Big, Truth, Uncategorized, Visualization, Weight Loss, women, Yoga. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Silver Linings and Vocabulary Changes: A tutorial in gratitude

  1. Brian Early says:

    Tracy, your perspective is so: empowering, uplifting and refreshing. If you look at every bad situation with a “silver lining” perspective; you can learn and grow into the person you can and should be. Great advice!

    • Thank you, Brian. I am using my blog as great practice for the book I’m writing, which will include a handful of the blog entries, with worksheets to go with. We all need to take a moment to slow down and be mindful… Taking a few minutes to read a blog that helps us remember is a step toward that. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for stopping by.

      Enjoy your weekend!

  2. Nora Whalen says:

    Hi Tracy!

    You are so right! It’s during moment of fear that I am the most judgemental. It is very easy to slip into that old pattern. I love your vocabulary change list! It’s wonderful to know what the alternative behavoir is. There are so many posts out that say this behavior needs to be changed. You completely agree, but don’t know the how. You provided it all!


    • Hi Nora,

      Thank you for taking the time to leave comments! I love what you said, and am glad to know that I covered “it all,” even if ‘just’ scratching the surface. I will probably write more on gratitude; just wanted to start with something straightforward and easy to incorporate. I aim to keep my blogs at 1,000 words or less so eyes don’t glaze over. 🙂

      I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and am grateful that you stopped by!

      In gratitude,

  3. “…attitude of gratitude…” is a ‘keeper’ phrase. I also agree with your insight that fear for me is often behind judgement or being critical. I have also written on the topic of gratitude; one of the things I realized and wrote about is that gratitude reduces tension. So, if you are all wound up about something, if you stop for a moment and alight in your mind upon something else for which you are truly grateful for, it can provide relief.
    Re. your blog: My 1st visit—nice look to the blog, think your writing is good.

    • Hi Paula,

      Thank you for reading and for your feedback! I love how people are responding, on and off-line, to share their own experiences. We are all learning, and when we can share together, we will all grow together.

      Yes, I agree that sometimes we need to up-shift back to a more pleasant thought, and not necessarily ignore the “problems” we have, but get our brains and hearts to get back into the positive space in order to create, or re-create the momentum we need to get thru a rough patch. In shifting our focus and perspective, everything else we do moving forward becomes more and more effortless.

      Have a wonderful day! (and I’ll check out your blog too)


  4. Gerald E Lavey says:

    Tracy – Absolutely brilliant. A constant struggle of mine, and I would guess most people. You unmasked us, and I thank you for that. Jerry

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