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Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

By Susie Cortright

It's easy to be grateful when you're pregnant. The fetus offers constant reminders of the miracle unraveling inside. My husband and I saw our next daughter's teaspoon-sized form on the ultrasound screen a few weeks ago. We watched her tiny heart pump blood to her tiny brain and her tiny hands curl up next to her tiny face. And I am grateful.

Now that I know we're having a second daughter, I'm even more grateful for the time I spend with our first daughter, who is currently obsessed with pennies and Chapstick - anything she can put in her toddler-size purse. The night after the ultrasound, I dreamt of leading a line of little girls, all with their pennies and Chapstick and toddler-size purses, through a park, down a ski slope, through a mall and beyond, on into their own lives. And I am grateful.

As I lie in bed staring at the ceiling and feeling sorry for my insomniac self, the new baby will give me a swift kick and I am all-at-once grateful for this teaspoon-sized child with the strength and vigor to kick me in such a way. I get weepy watching commercials for Toll House Cookies, and I am grateful for all the memories that haven't been created and all the cookies my girls and I haven't yet baked.

Pregnancy hormones are no doubt at work here (my "normal" self can endure a commercial break without shedding tears), but, for all of us, actively cultivating a sense of gratitude can help us heal and grow, and this sense of gratitude will thrive and strengthen when we begin to pay attention to it in even the smallest ways.

The Importance of Gratitude

Gratitude wards off jealousy. When we're busy aaah-ing over what we have, we're not looking at the person across the street and wanting what she has. Jealousy has an enormous power to change us, but only if we let it. By focusing on gratitude, we shift the focus away from the things we may feel are missing in our lives.

Gratitude keeps us grounded. We're not panicking over what we can accomplish but simply basking in a new day. And yet gratitude combines nicely with ambition, helping us to be gracious to the people who help us in our achievements.

Gratitude helps us to not complain. Too many of our conversations, it seems, reduce to a competition of who has it the worst.

"Oh, I'm so tired. Bethany is teething."
"I know. I was up all night finishing a business proposal."
"I don't feel good either." 

We feed off one another until, in our heads, we really are unhappy.

Keep Reading

We often mistake the tremendous power of our words. A simple negative comment or complaint can damage another person's day because it can damage the way they see their life, either as they compare their life to yours or as they start focusing on their own negativity.

Don Miguel Ruiz calls such negativity "emotional poison." But we can instill more positive emotions - in ourselves and in others.

Cultivate Gratitude

Help yourself cultivate gratitude. Here are a few little things we can all do every day.

© Susie Michelle Cortright
Susie Cortright is the founder of and Momscape's Scrapbooking Playground - Join her scrapbooking club here: or learn more about starting your own scrapbooking business on Susie's team.

Read more articles by Susie Michelle Cortright.


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