It’s something I spent most of my life taking for granted.
Sure I was grateful for things. But living every day in gratitude? My life didn’t seem that way.
I was raised to say “Thank you.”
Taught that it’s polite to send thank you cards. Was told to eat what was on my plate, be thankful for it since there were others who were starving.
But to embody the spirit of gratitude, that was missing from my life.
When I first took the VIA Character Strengths survey, Gratitude was one of my lower middle strengths, coming in with a ranking of 3.5 out of 5. VIA Character Strengths, this is a system designed by scientists in the positive psychology world that identifies your unique character strength profile. It is a classification of 24 positive traits we all possess, but use in different combinations and in different ways, which makes us each unique. This survey measures which ones you use on a regular basis, your signature strengths, and then ranks the others in order of your preference. Those at the bottom of the list are not weaknesses, just those that one uses less often, or maybe under only certain conditions.
So gratitude was number 16 on my list, but the score of 3.5 making it somewhat like me.
I wanted it to be more like me.
It was 2018 and I had recently left my corporate career, bought a yoga studio and become a Life Coach. I thought Gratitude would be a more significant part of me bein a yogi and all. We had a gratitude jar at the studio. At the end of class I shared quotes and poems on gratitude. I had done the social media gratitude challenge in 2016. I felt like something was wrong with me! I’m surrounded by gratitude, but it’s not even close to being one of my signature strengths! My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, in part because there are no gifts. Just love, family and friends.
Am I not grateful?
The Monkey Mind was at it again! There is nothing wrong with me.
That’s what I love about looking at gratitude through the lens of positive psychology and how this survey was designed.
Gratitude is a part of who I am. I may not use it all the time, and perhaps I could do more to embody it, but it is still a positive aspect of me! I simply use other strengths more often!
And if you think of it, if we all had Gratitude as our number 1 strength, and we all used it ALL the time as our go to strength, we may all start taking it for granted. And there would be less diversity in life.
So even though I know that gratitude is a part of me, I still want to embrace or more fully embody it. I’ve been observing life, coaching others, joining in masterminds, and what I find weaved throughout is that those that are happiest and most successful, all radiate Gratitude!
How could I strengthen my gratitude? Make it even more like me?
I decided back in 2018 I would not only do the social media Gratitude challenge again, I would also make it an annual ritual. Every November I would focus my energy on embodying gratitude. Taking time each day to acknowledge the big and small things in my life that I am truly grateful for. It is my annual Gratitude Check-Up! Making sure it stays strong and I’m hoping gets stronger!
This year I am at it again.
I am posting each day to my social media accounts what I am grateful for. I recall back in 2016 many others taking part, but this year, I’ve only seen one other person post.
Would you like to join me? Would you like to give yourself a Gratitude Check-Up? Give that strength a work-out?
Gratitude is one of 5 VIA Character strengths that have a strong connection to happiness. Having more gratitude, we find more joy and happiness! When we are grateful, we feel more connected to our lives, we are engaged, and our lives have greater meaning.
Wherever gratitude is in your Character Strength Profile, (take the survey to find out), it doesn’t hurt to focus 30 days out of the year to keep that gratitude spirit strong!
So, post what you are grateful for on any of the social media platforms: Facebook, IG and LinkedIn. Post daily, post weekly or just post one time! Then tag Eclectic Well-Being and use hashtag #eclecticgratitude! We will share someone’s post each day with intent to spread gratitude and thus spread happiness!
What are you grateful for?