I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet. — Persian quote
My dad says this all the time.
These words remind us to be grateful for what we have. We should not lament what we perceive as a lack, for there is always someone who is making do with less.
This saying has been on my mind lately. And while I can certainly apply these words to material possessions, I am coming to realize they are pertinent to more intangible life circumstances as well.There are times when I allow myself to wallow in the tough life circumstances that surround me. That is when I get overwhelmed, sad and anxious. But if I halt — take a step back from the overwhelm, and choose to focus on gratitude, I find myself more open to receiving God’s grace. And I know I absolutely have much, indeed, to be grateful for.
It is not necessary for me to meet the man with no feet — the person making do with less, in some capacity — before I cultivate a heart of gratitude. No. I can choose gratitude, peace and happiness right now. In fact, I often play little games with myself in this regard. Like, if I pretend, or offer little intangible gifts to others, then the desired result will follow for me — and them! Win-win 🙂 Have you ever done this? Here are some unique tricks I have found which help me to cultivate these positive qualities:
Be a good listener
Have you ever had a conversation with someone, and that person seemed distracted somehow? You are speaking, but you don’t really feel heard? It stinks. That scenario tends to make me feel unimportant and even unlikable to a degree. Don’t be that person! Be an engaged conversationalist by actively listening. Make eye contact. Don’t interrupt the other person. Acknowledge what they have said. Being a good listener will offer you a feeling of contentment that you have esteemed another.
Accept compliments gracefully
This is a tough one for a lot of people. Someone compliments you on your jacket, and you respond, “Oh, this old thing?” Another compliments you on your speaking talent, and you scoff, “I did a terrible job.” Sound familiar? I tend to believe that possibly our upbringing in encouraging us to be humble, and not arrogant or boastful, has a good deal to do with how we respond to compliments. But, think about it this way. The person offering the compliment noticed a detail about you which they admire. They are making themselves vulnerable to rejection by speaking the compliment aloud. And your discounting them, in a sense, rejects their heartfelt opinion. Hmmm … how will that make the person feel? You can fix this by simply saying, “Thank you.” We are allowed to acknowledge something good about ourselves (hello, self-esteem?), especially if another points it out to us. Just say, “Thank you.” Then you are not rejecting yourself or the other person.
Stand up straight
Yep. I mean this. Great posture both exudes and fosters self-confidence. I took ballet lessons for two brief years as a young teenager. This didn’t last very long what with my flat feet and all. But — I still to this day remember my instructor teaching me to stand up straight by my pretending I was a marionette, and a puppeteer was pulling me up by a string attached to the top of my head. It is this lengthening of the entire body which results in wonderful posture. Try it. The results are amazing. You certainly appear more confident, as well as intelligent, kind, and approachable. People need to see this in you!
A smile is a unique thing. So small, yet so powerful. And effortless, too. I wrote a previous blog post on the power of a smile. I encourage you to check back and read about how a simple smile can have such profound effects on those around you, friends and strangers alike. If you are looking to start small in your quest for contentment, gratitude and peace, I hope I can spark movement in you to offer a genuine, heartfelt smile to others. Smiles are beautiful, contagious, and free! You will touch more hearts in a positive way than you will ever know! And that is a great feeling for YOU!
I hope I have at least ignited a small flame within you to see your world from a new, fresh and positive perspective. I know you have tough goings on in your life. But an attitude of gratitude and a sentiment of contentment can both go a long way in helping you to be at peace and happiness with your current circumstances. And these suggestions are a few ways to spread some happiness to those around you, too! So, go ahead, and make a habit of listening, smiling, standing up straight and gracefully accepting compliments. You are an attractive, classy person, living with grace and gratitude. Perfectly perfect! ❤