You may think the grass is greener on the other side, but if you took the time to water your own grass, it would be just as green.
It seems that we all want what we cannot have. When temperatures plummet in winter, we yearn for the warm days of spring and summer, and when we are panting in the August heat, we wish for the cool, crisp days of autumn. When winter comes, we wish for snow, until we have too much to shovel; then we wish we didn’t have so much snow. On sunny days, those with gardens wish for a little rain, and on rainy days, people who have planned a picnic wish for sunshine.
Girls with curly locks wish for straight hair, and girls with straight hair wish for a head full of curls. Women whose hair is going gray wish they had their hair color back. People compare themselves unfavorably with others all the time. Or they compare the way things are now with the way they used to be. No one is satisfied.
Gratitude is not just what we feel when things are going well or when we receive a much-appreciated gift. It’s an attitude that must be cultivated daily. Sometimes it means that we must actively search for something that we can be grateful for. Some days the pickings are pretty slim. The parents of the children who died in the tornado this evening will no doubt find it impossible to be grateful that their lives were spared. Hopefully, most of us will never have to experience this particular type of tragedy. Our hearts go out to them as they grieve for their precious children.
Normally, though, every lifetime contains plenty of things we can be grateful for. The problem is that we take them for granted. Young people never think to be especially grateful for their health and strength until they are a few decades down the road, and their body begins to fail them. Adults at the peak of their careers don’t take the time to be grateful for their situation until it comes crashing down around them for some unexpected reason, such as a stock market crash, the sudden failure of the company they work for, or an accident that makes them incapable of remaining on the job.
One way to cultivate gratitude, and to build the self-discipline to keep up the practice of gratitude, is to start a Gratitude Notebook. Get an ordinary notebook and cover the outside with pretty wrapping paper. Write down at least three things that you are grateful for every day. Date your entries. If you miss a day, don’t worry. Just go back to it and start where you left off. At intervals of 1 to 2 months, go back and check your entries.
How can we water our own grass?
* Instead of pining for a different kind of hair (straight, curly, thick, fine, long, short, etc.), you would learn the best style for your type of hair and keep it that way.
* Instead of envying someone who has a better-paying job, make a plan to prepare yourself (e.g. get training or credentials) for a better job.
* Instead of complaining about the heat, focus on enjoying whatever method you use to cool your home, or learn to dress properly for the warm weather.
* Instead of envying another student his or her good grades, take the time to learn about – and apply – good study habits. Learn to take notes, make study cards, or do whatever else it takes to get better grades, including turning in work that is above and beyond what the teacher asks for and doing extra credit assignments.
* Instead of sitting around watching TV every night while your kids surf the web or listen to music in their room, make plans to do some sort of activity together, such as going to the movies or a sports event, having a family picnic, or planning a weekend outing together.
* Instead of just envying the way a smaller woman looks in her beautiful clothes, take the bull by the horns and join TOPS or Weight Watchers, invest in a gym membership, or join an exercise class.
* Instead of envying others for having more money, find a way to turn a hobby into cash, or think about getting an extra part-time job. Look around for new job opportunities that might develop, and let your friends know you’re interested in making a job change. Often, friends will be able to tip you off about an opportunity that you might have otherwise missed.
* Instead of envying someone for being able to take a fabulous vacation, plan yourself a fun-filled stay-cation. Do something locally that you’ve never done before.
These are just some suggestions to get you started. Think about some areas in your life where you have always thought the grass was greener in someone else’s yard, and find a way to water your grass. 🙂