Three Steps to Gratitude – Awareness, Acceptance, and Action

Awareness, Acceptance, and Action - three steps to gratitudeGratitude is a powerful tool for coping with difficult situations.  It can help us navigate change and overcome setbacks, and stave off the negative and damaging effects of entitlement, expectation, and envy.   However, achieving a mental and spiritual state of thankfulness sometimes requires tremendous effort, especially during extremely stressful situations.  But it can be done by following three simple steps – awareness, acceptance, and action.

Do you have the tendency to quickly identify when something is wrong and then jump to conclusions in an effort to fix the problem so that you don’t have to feel any discomfort?  Unfortunately, acting on impulse during unpleasant situations can result in frantic and irrational choices, forced and unfavorable solutions, and increased discomfort if not outright pain.

The truth is our ability to successfully respond to challenges requires a positive attitude about the situation that has come to our attention.  Without acceptance and awareness, we are unable to take action that is constructive, effective, and ultimately in our best interest.  Thankfully, I have found three steps to enable growth and change through life’s trials and tribulations – change in perspective, change in behavior, and change in attitude.

Step 1: Awareness.  This step requires slowing down long enough to fully understand and perceive the situation.  Take time to give conscious and cognizant attention to what’s going on.  Be mindful in the moment and soberly alert to the events, actions, or circumstances.  Pay attention to the challenge or difficulty and how you feel about it.  Take a thorough inventory of the situation and its impact to you personally.  Put the situation under a mental magnifying glass for greater clarity and insight.

Step 2: Acceptance.  This step involves a willingness to receive and embrace the situation for what it is – good, bad, or indifferent.  Take time to fully realize what is happening and come to terms with it without protest or reaction.  Recognize the situation as true and embrace that truth within your heart and spirit.  Accepting a situation is not the same as condoning a situation, but it is the act of sitting still, feeling the feelings, and coming to agreement with the consequences.  This step may require an open mind and willingness to hear another point of view.

Step 3: Action.  This step enables a thoughtful and intentional reply to the situation.  Rather than responding with a knee-jerk reaction, take time to assess your choices and move forward in the solution that aligns best with your will and needs.  Identify your choices and act accordingly.  This is where you have the ability to choose your attitude about the situation, including gratitude.

Moving from awareness to acceptance to action takes time, but the benefits are worth the wait.  By taking these three steps, options become more visible and enable the best course of action and attitude.  Stop concentrating on changing the situation and think first about accepting it and acting in gratitude.



Favorite Quote

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” John Milton

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