Gratitude. It’s that time of year. Being grateful is a wonderful thing. There’s a plethora of articles, reasons and scriptures why we should be grateful. Yet at this time of year, when we are to be at the height of our gratefulness, we sometimes find ourselves in the trap.
If you’re on Facebook, you’ve seen the 30-days of gratitude lists that are circulating. You know, pick three things you’re grateful for and post on your page. Certainly most people can come up with three things for 30 days. That’s 90 things for the list. You can do it? Right?
Often the list goes something like this … I’m grateful for my spouse, my children, my grandchildren, heat, food, car, cat, dog, etc. While all of those people and things are valid on the list, after a few days it starts to sound like just a list … more like a shopping list than a gratitude list. If you’ve participated in this activity, around day ___ (you pick a number), it becomes challenging to add three more things … even though we have thousands of things to add. There’s a certain randomness and lack of depth to this activity.
Gratitude is not performance-based … as if by making a long list you are magically more grateful. Honestly, that’s when Gratitude Fatigue starts to set in.
The Gratitude Fatigue Trap is that moment when before even beginning, it just seems like a chore. Because of this, most people don’t start. It’s not that they are ungrateful. It just becomes one more thing to do during this busy holiday season and it takes time that yields very little in return. It’s too difficult to join in at all with an attitude of gratitude.
So, how do we focus on being grateful at this time of year … maybe even every day of the year … without having Gratitude Fatigue set in?
Try this …
- Choose one thing or person. (That’s doable)
- Along with the what or who, tell WHY you are grateful.
- Be sure to write it down. You can look back over your reasons or add more later.
- Stay with this one thing/person until you are ready to move to the next thing. Focus on truly being grateful for this, not on how long of a list you can create.
For example: I’m grateful for my parents because they raised me in a Christian home with strong moral values, placing importance on independence, faith in God, family, music, honesty, integrity and missions. These values have shaped who I am today in my personal and professional life.
As we stop and reflect on the WHY, more reasons come to mind. Maybe a story, a song, a verse, or something that person said comes back to your memory. Those seeds of gratitude take root and have depth. It’s not just a quick and sometimes thoughtless list but a pause, a reflection, and a heartfelt acknowledgement.
If you are able, take one more step in the cycle of real gratitude. Tell that person what they did and how it impacted you. More than likely in return, they will share a moment or memory of gratitude with you … and the cycle continues and grows. The seeds of gratitude yields a harvest of love, joy, hope, peace, kindness and thankfulness.
It’s time to get out of the Gratitude Fatigue Trap. It’s the beginning of a new month, new week, new day … shift your focus to one thing you are grateful for … and why.
Karen Power is on a mission to equip and empower Christian Communicators to share their messages and change the world!
While focused on delivering the message, Karen has connected the two-sides of the coin with her businesses. For event and meeting planners, Christian Speakers Services is a speakers bureau with a ministry heart offering speakers for a variety of faith-based and non-faith based events. For speakers, authors and other communicators, Empowering Christian Communicators offers professional development opportunities and support services.