If you follow the law of attraction, you’ll be familiar with gratitude as a powerful tool to help you manifest the things you want. Specifically, feeling grateful for the things you already have will attract more things into your life to feel grateful for. While this seems pretty simple the problem many of us have is how do I feel grateful for things in my life that don’t match up to what I really want? How do I feel grateful for my job when I’m not paid enough or doing work that inspires me? How do I feel gratitude for a home full of leaks, worn out furniture, and an odd smell coming from the basement? Is it possible to feel truly grateful for where you are now AND excited about the future at the same time?
Even if you don’t subscribe to the law of attraction, you’ll find gratitude featured heavily in a wide range of other personal development practices. Many personal development experts will advocate for practices such as finding five things you are grateful for each day, writing in a gratitude journal, or reframing negative situations to find the positive aspects. Focusing on the good and the lessons learned can help you to identify something in every situation to feel grateful for. These practices lift your overall mood, helping shift your perception of your situation to a more positive, empowering one.
The challenge with these gratitude practices is that it can be difficult to feel a truly deep and authentic sense of gratitude for aspects of your life you are unhappy with. Finding something to be grateful for in a situation that you are desperate to escape from can be a stretch. One common piece of advice is to look for the little things in everyday life that you can be grateful for. While this can be helpful, it isn’t always enough to shift your overall feelings about the situation. Yes, your colleague might have brought you coffee this morning and yes, it was super nice and brightened your day, but it’s not enough. Stacked up against the soul-crushing reality of your 9 to 5, a coffee and a smile just aren’t going to shift the dial permanently into the positive range. The cold reality is you thought you’d be further along in your career/relationship/life in general by now.
Recommended book: Ask and It Is Given: Learning To Manifest Your Desires by Jerry and Esther Hicks (one of the Teachings of Abraham books)
So many of us feel that we should have arrived at some future ‘successful’ destination that we had envisioned for ourselves. What you may not realize is that you could already be there… or at least at an earlier version of it.
What if there was once a time in your past when you wished you’d be exactly where you are right now?
As an English person I LOVE to drink tea. I love to sit and relax, reading a book and drinking my tea, and when the weather is beautiful I’d love nothing more than to sit outside and enjoy it (with my tea of course!) One thing I am not a fan of is people LOOKING at me while I sit outside, drinking my tea and reading my book Unfortunately, my home has ZERO outdoor privacy. None, whatsoever. Anyone walking past our house can see every inch of our yard, as can the neighbors on all three sides. My husband has a 10 ft screen for showing movies on outdoors, and very often you can turn around to see passers-by just stood at the end of the yard enjoying the movie along with you.
Oh, how I wish my home had just a small patch of outdoor privacy! Somewhere where I can enjoy my tea undisturbed. It seems like a small thing, but privacy at home is extremely important to me. Just a few short years ago while living in London, privacy was something I could only dream of.
For four years I shared a house in London with 21 different housemates (yes, 21 different people moved in and out of that house over the course of the four years, all of which were strangers to me). Back then I rented a single room in a 5-bedroom house in Harrow, and shared the bathroom, kitchen, and lounge with up to 5 others at a time. Trust me when I say house-sharing is NOT like an episode of Friends. In fact, some of my housemates were so awful I grew to hate living in that house. I was continually stressed, unable to relax, and mentally at the end of my rope. I preferred being at work (and I wasn’t exactly a fan of my job back then either) and after work I would go over to a friend’s house until after 10pm at night just to avoid being in that house. Even now just thinking about it can make my blood pressure start to rise. I had no privacy outside of the four walls of my bedroom.
Recommended book: The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
My dream home back then was somewhere WITHOUT random housemates. I wanted to be able to come home and sit on a couch in a living room without scores of people parading in and out. I wanted to be able to cook dinner whenever I wanted, and not have to wait until everyone else was done using the stove. I wanted to have space in the freezer to simply store some food instead of having my one freezer draw taken up by someone else’s ice cream. I wanted a home of my own that I could simply relax in.
I am now blessed to have that home I dreamed of! I have my own living room and kitchen, with space to store and prepare food and a massive couch to lounge on and watch TV with my husband. There are no random people wandering in and out at all hours of the day and night, and no one steals my parking spot on the driveway. Compared to my London house share, it is heaven. It is exactly what I wanted, and I am grateful for it.
Back while I was in London, a lack of outdoor private space for tea drinking and book reading was the least of my concerns. But, now that I have moved up from the house-share to my own home my house dreams have leveled up too. It is human nature to constantly seeking more and more from life. Bigger dreams, bigger bank accounts, beautiful homes, more love, and more exciting adventures. So, as I sit here indoors, wishing I had somewhere outside to relax and enjoy the sunshine in, I can either focus on what’s wrong with this house or I can recall the time when I dreamed of exactly this house and feel truly grateful that I received it.
So maybe you’re not be in the job/home/relationship/financial situation that you want, but can you recall a time when you did want it? Was there a time when you could only dream of having the things that you have now? You do not need to feel guilty if you no longer feel as excited and inspired by it as you once did. As you reach new levels of growth and experience it’s OK to move on to new dreams and bigger plans for your future. It can, however, be helpful to think back to the times when you dreamed of being where you are now so that you can appreciate and feel grateful for it once again for it. Using this technique makes it possible to feel both grateful for where you are and excited about where youâre going at the same time.
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