Living in Gratitude

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By Dawn Onley

I read a note that someone posted on Facebook seven years ago, challenging their friends to write something they are thankful for each day during November, and to post it to their page. I did it that year, and have made it a practice to do since then, both on Facebook and off of it.

I think it’s a great exercise, in much the same way working out is for our bodies and reading is for our minds, as I’m always eager to strengthen my gratitude muscle. By summoning the emotion of gratitude, I hone in on the everyday positive, both great and small.

There is simply so much for which to be thankful. I’ve noticed that, by focusing on all of my blessings, my thinking has shifted from today’s work and tonight’s dinner to how truly fortunate I am. I simply can’t count all of my blessings – they are too numerous. I can’t count all of the benevolent acts that were done for me by people who love me, or at the very least want to see me succeed. I could never repay such kindness, aside from living a life of gratitude and lifting someone else up to pay it forward.

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There are plenty of people who are smarter than I, more accomplished, more degreed. There are people who have lived what I dream, and who have gotten it right the first time, and who can eat whatever they want this Thanksgiving, and the day after, and not gain a single pound.

There are women who have birthed babies and businesses, who have accomplished a degree of fame with their truth and character intact, who have exhibited an extemporaneous courage culled from an inner strength that was built from failure and determination.

There are people whose talents know no bounds, who can sing five octaves, run great distances in record speed, who can swim the English Channel, and even farther. There are women who are stunningly beautiful with skin as smooth as silk and as soft as cotton.

If I focused on any of this, I would forever live in a place called lack. If I compared myself to people who have been blessed in different ways from me, I could never be in a place of thanks.

I’m thankful for who I am, what I have, what I can do. I’m thankful for my unique gifts, my distinct look, my generous spirit, my loving heart. I’m thankful for my parents, for my family and close friends, who I think the world of. I’m thankful for my son and for my husband, for my optimism and drive.

Today and every day, I thank God for my life.

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