Gratitude

“Don’t let your attitude affect your gratitude!” That’s me talking.

“Dad! Shut up! You sound like a stupid kids’ TV show.” This is Eli, he’s eleven. Is he allowed to tell me to shut up? I guess so—when I’m being obnoxious.

I’ve been saying the attitude/gratitude thing over and over. I say it like this: “Don’t let your at.ti.tude… affect your gra.ti.tude.” This has been going on since Tuesday.

The down-side of repeating this phrase, besides bugging the bejesus out of my family, is that it reminds me of a Jimmy Buffett song: “changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes, nothing remains quite the same…” I can’t stand Jimmy Buffett. In college, my roommate Tom was a huge Buffett fan. Mercifully, this was before they started calling themselves Parrot Heads. That would have pushed me over the edge. Bad enough that they listen to crappy music, but stealing their naming convention from the Dead Heads—another group of ‘fans’ that sets me off—that’s just plain stupid.

Tom listened to the Grateful Dead as well. Me? I only listened to punk rock. The Clash, the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, the… wait, that’s all… Clash, Pistols, Ramones. Ours was a bipolar stereo.

Every Tuesday morning, I talk with Molly. She’s my life-coach. Before you roll your eyes and write me off as an over-privileged, over-indulged sort of guy with money to burn, let me point out that this coaching is free. It’s a service provided by my medical insurance company. And they don’t call it life-coaching, I do. They call her my ‘guide’ which seems far more ridiculous than life-coach.

This week, Molly suggested I keep a Gratitude Journal. Have you heard of this before? It’s a book where you write about the good stuff that happens in your life. It’s a way to ensure that you’re reflecting on the positive. Taking time to really think about what’s right in your world.

I’m a glass half empty sort of person. I’m always looking for the downside. I found a new job… ugh, now I need to buy new clothes. Molly thought some focus away from the negative might straighten me out a bit.

99An interesting thing about my attitude/gratitude saying is I’m not certain about my motivation. It could be that I enjoy pushing Eli’s buttons. Maybe I like how it sounds. Possibly I say it because I have Tourette Syndrome. A few years ago, my family drove to Niagara Falls. On the way, we saw a road sign that said Future 99. For the next week (constantly) and the next six-months (randomly), the phrase Future 99 popped out of my mouth. Tourette Syndrome!

Don’t let your attitude affect your gratitude.

The most important part about gratitude journaling is getting a cool book to write in. Susan has a thing for blank books. Every time we walk through T.J. Max, she pokes through the journals and often buys one.  While I was talking to Molly, I was envisioning a composition book. One of those string-bound books you buy at Walmart for $1.97. Susan had none of that. She pulled out four books, spiral-bound, glue-bound, lined, unlined, large and small. I took my pick. I grabbed a spiral-bound book, the largest of the group. It has whales on the cover. It might be sort of girly, but I’m the only one who sees it. And I saved $1.97… plus gas.

Today was my first day of journaling. So much good stuff is going on in my life right now that I had trouble picking a topic. Today was my last day of work at my company. Monday, I start my new job. The WordPress editors recently picked one of my posts to be featured in Discover. I just added 800 followers on my blog. That’s 800 potential new friends.

This morning, I wrote about appreciation. I can’t remember another time when I’ve felt so appreciated. My wife and kids (who baked me a new job cake), my old co-workers, my future boss, and anyone reading this post right now. For all of your attention, I am grateful.

80 thoughts on “Gratitude

  1. The beginning gave me a flashback to a college roommate I had who would incessantly play Dave Matthews. I thought it was alright for the first couple of weeks… it’s almost been two decades now and I always feel like I want to punch someone in the face when I hear the word “satellite” …. ahhh memories. Good luck with the gratitude journaling!

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  2. I am thankful to be a part of your followers. You write what you feel and leave nothing out. I don’t think I have read a post from you that I haven’t liked so far. It is nice to see that transition between the negative and the positive at the end. Great post.

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  3. It’s hard maintaining a gratitude journal. First few days are great, then you struggle making a habit out of it. You can tell I’m a glass half empty kind of person too, Haha! Good luck with the new job. And nice post 🙂

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  4. I don’t have a physical gratitude journal, but every night I’ll try to find something to smile about each day. Just yesterday I found myself being profoundly moved by the beauty and simplicity of nature, and today I was touched by the gesture of an old man who lent me his cane to knock some fruit off a tree I was too short to reach. I feel like just having this appreciation in your heart naturally attracts good things and people to your life – or at least, it makes living a little more bearable each day.

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    • I agree. It’s hard for some of us to notice the good, even when we’re swimming in it. This journal, if I can keep up with it is supposed to reprogram the way my mind works.

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  5. Appreciate your journey here, Jeff. I do find the attitude of gratitude to be helpful as a counterpoint to the “whats wrong/whats not working/what can use improvement” mindset. Which is also important, the challenge can be to maintain perspective. Some stuff not so hot, some stuff good, its not an all or nothing thing. As someone whose work is with traumatized individuals, I notice that when their (or my) trauma is triggered, the black and white perspective is triggered, and the more ways that we can find to see other aspects while still respecting the first point of view, the better we function. Inclusion counts, and gratitude helps!

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  6. And I’m one of those potential 800 new friends. I have previously kept a happiness journal and am currently ploughing my way through a creativity journal (which is difficult for someone who isn’t creative!) A gratitude journal sounds like it could be next on the list! Great to come across your blog 🙂

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  7. I’m so pleased that you have said yes to try out a coach/guide and have a gratitude journal. Great notebook choice by the way! Gratitude has played an important part in my life. I’ve journaled, had a buzz board, sent myself emails and done gratitude challenges in various forms. I used to say I was a glass full type of person and now I realise that depending on my mindset, the day, the situation I’m sometimes empty, sometimes full, sometimes brimming over! In those empty days gratitude and reverse gratitude (which I do each morning which is to take 10mins to write what I’m not grateful for – which is so powerful) is what helps me back to a certain level of calm! Hope you enjoy this journey.

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  8. Lots of great stuff! New job ahead, new journal, new saying – I’m excited for you. I also have to take a step back and reorient my view, as I am also a glass half empty person. I carry a journal around to make notes and lists – maybe I’ll add some gratitude lists in there as well to help.

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    • Molly says it becomes a habit. And you can condition yourself to see the good. When I read your blog, you seem more of a glass half full type to me. I think you’re making the most of a challenging situation.

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      • Thank you! I do write a glass half full type blog – when I began, that was my goal – to write a positive autism story. We have a lot of great times, but there are a lot of tough times – it is not until I can see the light or positive message in the story that I will share it. With my blog, I don’t want sympathy, I don’t want to come off as complaining – I know a lot of people have struggles. So I use my journal to take notes, and when I can find the purpose or positive aspect to a situation, I share. I do carry my journal with me to take notes. I bet if I focused on seeing the good in things first, it would help me see the positive in things quicker than I do now.

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  9. I too carry a journal. I write down whatever comes to mind, both good and bad. Most of the time, it is the positive that makes me feel better. As for the negative, it is like therapy. I write about it, it’s out, and I feel a sense of relieve. Good luck with your journal.

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  10. I struggle with the glass half empty or half full perspective. Most days I try to make my attitude, “Well, if it’s low just go fill the damn thing”. I’m not sure what king of life coach I might make… I’ve been away for a bit so I missed the news about your recent vault to stardom in the WordPress community. Congratulations! Don’t forget about us little people.

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  11. Pingback: Gratitude – SEO

  12. The gratitude journal seems to be working Mr Half Full Glasses kind a guy. Oh yes you enjoy saying the mantra over and over to annoy your kiddo. That’s one privilege of being a parent. I thought from another of your blogs that we may be somewhat alike, until you named your three bands of choice. Hmmmm Nope. Not a one of them. But, not Jimmy Buffet or Grateful Dead unless it’s in small doses. I guess southern rock was more my jam. Anyway, I’m glad you’re using that gratefulness journal and talking about it. I too am a buy lots of blank or journal-type books. That means I have several be thankful books in need of my cursive. Maybe I’m newly inspired. Thanks.

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    • Musically, I’m pretty much all over the map, but punk from the 70s – 90s is definitely my thing. But classic rock, southern rock, 80s, it’s all good. Mostly I just listen to radio pop now because my kids like it. I don’t.

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  13. Nice post. Yes, gratitude and attitude go hand in hand. I have learned that I don’t deserve anything. I owe all I am and have to the Lord and to the people who have made it possible for me to be where I am and to be whom I am. It feels great trying to live life to give away from what we got of it. It feel better looking at the other side of the coin and to put in someone else’s shoes before judging. It keeps us improving to become free of selfishness. Make sense?

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  14. Great fan of gratitude journaling, keep one for 30 days challenge, had to write down 10 per day, thought I wouldnt get past 3-4 day. Suprising how much you take for granted. The amount of people involved in keeping you alive is frightening, and a massive wake up call.

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    • That’a a very nice sentiment, Gratitude writing has been tough because I prefer to spend my time doing creative writing for my blog. I’ve been actively trying to keep it up-beat though.

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  15. Pingback: Gratitude — The Other Stuff – Living Well Rituals

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