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13. An attitude of gratitude


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 An attitude of gratitude transcript

Welcome to Stren # 26, that addresses one of our most important mental skills.  Gratitude is appreciation for what we have received.  To gratify is “to please or satisfy.”  It is also from the obsolete word “grate” meaning agreeable.   Gratitude is a powerful force to grow our skill in self-endorsement.  Creating an attitude of gratitude offers an effective way to become our own best friend.  Gratitude is an antidote for automatic negative thoughts; that is, the self-putdowns and guilt that make us our own worst enemy.  I’ve received many comments on the effectiveness of today’s stren. 


Make a written list of all the important positives for which you can be grateful.  Review your positives regularly so that you can easily call them to mind.  Whenever you identify a new positive, add it to the list.  Grow your list!  Remind yourself of these positives frequently throughout the day, especially when your automatic putdowns or worries pop up.  With repetition, you will make the addition of these positives to your thinking a habit.  Your new attitude of gratitude will replace your automatic negative thoughts.  Eventually you’ll find that you will no longer need your written list.  

Watch out for “yes buts.”  “Yes buts” are almost always the unwelcome voice of your automatic negative thoughts resisting extinction.  Spotting these “yes buts” and vigorously attacking them is fun, a marvelous outlet for your innate harmful aggression that hurts no one!  

Consider this example of a list of positives offered by one person who made it work:

I have life.

I have the capacity to think, to teach myself, to grow, to fulfill myself.

I have the ability to smile, laugh, and feel good and inflation doesn’t raise the price of a laugh.

I recognize others who have far less health, wealth, or opportunity than I, yet they seem to genuinely enjoy themselves and live with enthusiasm.  If others can, I know there’s a way!

I have the capacity to engage regularly in interesting dialogue with myself and with others.

I have reasonable security from physical harm.

I live at a time and place in the world where I have better than ever opportunities for personal freedom, health, education, travel, work, and physical comforts.

Important parts of me work well: my ability to learn, my vital organs, and much more.

I have people in my life who love me or would help me. These people include my wife, my children, family, my family of friends, and a number of people I can yet develop as support people.

I have people in my life who can enjoy what I have to offer - family, friends, and humanity.  

Even if I reach a place in my life where I don’t know anyone, there are fellow humans who are more than willing to help (clergy, professional counselors, or lay people who are self-sufficient or supported by the community).  My government is available to offer me care if I need it and when I ask for it.  

I possess skills: reading, writing, expressing myself, and I could go on quite a bit here.

I have work skills such as conscientiousness, expressiveness, formal education, and I could add many more here.  I am capable of teaching myself new skills, AND there are vast human and material resources available to me, free for the taking. 

I have made the following accomplishments: I like myself, I have good friends, I have developed adaptation skills, and I can add many more.

Positive qualities others have told me about myself include warmth, patience, empathy, an interest in people, and a number of others.  

Positive qualities I have include the willingness to work, to love, to laugh at my mistakes, and other qualities.  

Most important, what I lack that is really important, including becoming a good friend to myself, I can attain.  


Personally, I find it helpful to remind myself that I, and most of us, live better today than the kings of recent times.  We have a greater selection of healthier foods; libraries, mass media, and technology that provide educational opportunity; greater comforts in our home, work, and environment; a more welcoming bed (ah!); unprecedented sanitation, medical and surgical means to improve the quality and quantity of life; and so much more. 

Here are two blockbuster insights among many others that I sustain my constant attitude of gratitude.  

1.I am on the growing edge of a creative process set in motion over 3 ½ billion years past.  I have received through my genes the proven trial-and-error wisdoms that make me among the 2-3 percent of species that have not become extinct.  I have been gifted with the latest model brain.  Through the specialized function of this freedom organ, I can join fate and circumstance to become a powerful creator and director of my own destiny.  “I can choose to create a joyous, meaningful life experience or I can choose to make myself miserable.  I’m not a fool!” [A statement often repeated by positive thinker Norman Vincent Peale.]  

2.Giants that have preceded me have shared their wisdom that lead to success so that I can learn from it.  Their collected knowledge and wisdoms to create a joyous purposeful life are available to me free for the asking.  I have the five needed ingredients available to me right now: the will to learn, work, patience, direction, and willingness to risk letting go of old ways that no longer work.  What I lack in these five skills is abundantly available from role models, willing teachers, and books.  What a combination! Dynamite genes and the opportunity to teach myself the wisdoms from giants who have preceded me. 


Whoever you are, wherever you are, you can create an attitude of gratitude!


12. Challenging automatic thinking
14. Why we are pessimistic


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