HDM Tip: Look for something to appreciate in this moment, where you are right now
For me, the most important thing is to live with gratitude. Yes, I know, we all get wrapped up in our own lives, in our own busyness, in our own situations. But when it comes down to it, our lives become richer, fuller, when we open our eyes, our ears, our hearts, and discover some moment to appreciate about each day.
And there is always a happy moment to discover, even when we think we’re in the middle of the most boring day, or the most painful circumstance.
Finding something to appreciate in every day is about accepting the full truth of the present moment, focusing our minds on the positive aspects of a situation.
When my Dad died last year, my Mom faced a new kind of situation, a future without the man she had loved and been married to for 63 years. She faced grief and loneliness. But here are some things she did:
- She did not deny the darkness but chose not to live in it.
“People who have come to know the joy of God do not deny the darkness, but they choose not to live in it. They claim that the light that shines in the darkness can be trusted more than the darkness itself and that a little bit of light can dispel a lot of darkness. They point each other to flashes of light here and there, and remind each other that they reveal the hidden but real presence of God.” -Henri J.M. Nouwen, Return of the Prodigal Son
- She felt love and gratitude for all the memories she and Dad shared, even the hard years of Dad’s dementia.
- She felt hope and gratitude because she knew that one day she would rejoice with Dad in heaven.
- She noticed others and looked beyond her own circumstances, choosing to give herself to loving and encouraging and ministering God’s peace and comfort to others.
Every day my Mom carries Dad’s love with her. And she will miss him every day of her life. Our whole family will. But she lives in the light; she appreciates the moments; she lives with gratitude, and that covers all her grief and loneliness.
Finding something to appreciate, a Happy Day Moment, even in those hard places and challenging circumstances, involves looking beyond those things that we didn’t choose, weren’t prepared for, and perhaps didn’t want. Instead of looking at the ways situations are hard or disappointing or bad, we can choose to focus on the things that call forth gratitude.
The key: understanding that even in the dark, there are stars. The positive emotions that arise when we identify what we appreciate, what we love, are life-changing. Gratitude, love, hope, optimism, compassion, awe, the joy of God — these all make us healthier, happier, and more satisfied with our lives.
The more you do something deliberately over time, the better shot you have at it actually working. Like finding light in darkness. Like finding something to appreciate, like living with gratitude. Like discovering a “moment” each day to appreciate.
Take action: Find something to appreciate about the situation you are in.
Join the discussion: Tell me about something you appreciate about today. Share in the comments or discuss on Facebook here.