Operation #GratefulDaily

Dear Jack,

Several months ago – I’m actually not certain exactly when – I started using the hashtag #GratefulDaily in my Twitter feed with the intention to post something each day that I was thankful for.  [Crash course on what a hashtag is here.]  The idea originated from my devotional time in the morning, when I physically record something I’m grateful for (a practice adopted after reading Tim SandersToday We Are Rich).

I can’t say that #GratefulDaily has caught on and spread throughout the Twitter world, but it has gained a bit of traction here and there.  And even if it doesn’t do anything else other than discipline me to express thanks publicly, then it’s still a win.

However, in the past few days, a few friends (Ray and Ryan) have encouraged the intentional spread of using the #GratefulDaily hashtag during this Christmas season, and I think it’s a good idea.  So as we do so, I wanted to write why I believe that expressing gratefulness is a good thing.

Gratefulness is a bedrock of contentment, and contentment is a bedrock of stewardship.  Meaning that if we increase our awareness of things we are grateful for, we can become more content, and as we’re more content we can become better and better stewards.

Gratefulness forces us to focus on what we have, and when we do this, we’re less inclined to focus on what we are lacking.  In fact, I’ve found that when I focus more on what I do have, I not only think less of what I’m lacking, but I also look for ways I can use what I do have to help others who are in need.

Gratefulness is contagious in both real life and in Social Media.  When you’re around someone who is grateful and full of life and happiness, it’s difficult not to share in that joy.  Conversely, it’s also difficult to remain grateful and happy when you surround yourself with those who are envious and miserable.  Being intentional on Twitter to be happy and thankful is a good thing – and that power is multiplied by using a hashtag so that in one click you can see what others are grateful for.

Gratefulness helps combat consumerism, which is exactly what a lot of us need right now.  We live in an extremely materialistic society, and this time of year makes that materialism all the more obvious.  By focusing on what we do have and expressing gratitude for it, I believe we’re able to desire less things and focus on giving to those who really do have true needs.

Gratefulness is most powerful in daily doses as compared to spontaneous binges.  I think this is true of most things, especially good habits and mindsets.  It’s counter-cultural to be content and grateful, and it’s an uphill battle.  It’s going to be difficult to defeat a struggle if we only work at it spontaneously.  It’s the daily discipline that will win the war.

Gratefulness build perspective into our lives.  Similar to what I previously mentioned about the focus on what we do have, reflecting on our blessings can be a true perspective builder.  For example, being grateful for a warm house (others, even in my city, don’t have heat – or a roof); being grateful for literacy (a lot of the world can’t read); being grateful for the ability to think about what I’m thinking about (called metacognition, and it’s unique to humans); being grateful for clean water (a lot of the world dies from dirty water).

So here’s to spreading #GratefulDaily in the world, Jack.  I hope to model to you, not just through Twitter, but in all aspects of life, what a grateful life looks like.  I can’t say I have it all figured out and am perfectly modeling it, but I’m trying my best and attempting to encourage others to do the same.  Till next time, Jack.

Sincerely,
J.

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