There was a time when saying the words, “Let me know what I can do to help,” was almost always laced with the worry that I actually had nothing to offer. The intention of generosity was there. It was just squashed behind the secret fear that someone might call my bluff: “Oh yeah? What could you possibly do to help me?”
Growing up in a family of divorce, addiction and dysfunction created a recurring (and common) theme of “never enough” for me. Unfortunately when that mentality creeps in, it’s not only harder to give, but nearly impossible to receive as well.
So how do we overcome this unhealthy programming? The key for me has been to illuminate those paralyzing scarcity beliefs and replace them with a radiating sense of abundance. The spark is gratitude. When we both feel and express gratitude on a consistent basis, we inherently acknowledge and invite abundance. This nurtures the abundance mindset we need in order to generously give and receive.
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to get refocused on daily habits that ignite gratitude. Here are a few suggestions (no turkey required):
- Start on a high note. Loretta Laroche once advised me to start the day with a hearty, “TAH DAH! I made it through the night!” If the first words out of your mouth are usually something more along the lines of, “Oh crap!” be aware of the tone you are setting for the rest of your day.
- Go on a “thank you” treasure hunt. Look for opportunities to be appreciative. Thank everyone. Say “thank you” every time you get a green light during your commute, when something in nature catches your eye or when the printer works. Find the gifts.
- Let your cup runneth over. Find two minutes each day to indulge in intense thoughts of gratitude and abundance. My favorite time to do this is right after a workout. Visualize it. Feel it. Let it wash over you.
- Adjust your attitude. Everyone has their moments. Recognize when you’re in a negative spiral so you can get back on a positive track. Here’s a clue: If you meet more than two jerks in one day, chances are pretty good you’re one of them.
- Make a list. Keep a written gratitude journal or make it verbal. Exchange the best parts of the day with your partner or children as a bedtime ritual. Words add power. Knowing you’ll be doing this each night will also make you more focused on finding list-worthy moments throughout the day.
When we instinctively feel that there is an infinite amount of goodness to go around, we give freely. When we see ourselves as authentically generous, we receive deservedly.
What helps your attitude of gratitude?
Charlene DeCesare is the co-founder and Senior Director of Tuition Advisory Services, an advising and technology firm that helps companies maximize ROI on corporate-sponsored education. She is also working on a book about personal and professional balance. Check out her insightful and entertaining blog, The Balance Beam.