In last week’s post we talked about how to focus on that which is positive, and how to surround yourself with positive people. This week I want to look at the next three exercises to help us create a culture of being deeply thankful.
3) Seek the Positive!
It has become so common for people to complain that we don’t even notice it anymore. When you catch yourself speaking, it might just be negative!
As women I think it is absolutely vital that we seek out the positive in every single situation, no matter how gloomy it might seem. And not just that, but we actually need to speak the positive out loudly! We cannot simply go along with the crowd, especially not if they are just complaining and speaking negatively. We are the ones who create culture – do you want to continue to invest in a negative culture? Do you want your children to grow up in a negative culture? They will, if you don’t set the example and change it into something beautiful…something positive.
4) Take your thoughts captive
This is a very challenging practice. Mostly because we love to speak! And where do our words come from? From our thoughts…. Therefore, I want to list 3 tools with which we can practice to take our thoughts captive:
We often have so many things going on in our minds, that it becomes absolutely crucial to vent. Ideas, thoughts, events throughout the day, everything just seems to pile up, and suddenly it’s too much. We just have to get it out. And, the way we do this is often not very positive or uplifting.
When the pressure of life gets to us, we spit it out and it lands, like venom, on anyone who is close enough. So, how do we deal with this?
You write it out.
It is absolutely crucial to get all these ideas, and thoughts, whether negative of positive, out of our minds. And the safest way to do that, is to write about it…every single day…. Not just when you can’t bear it anymore. Here’s the thing about writing it out:
often, you will be surprised at what comes out AND, when writing down a specific problem, you will more likely than not, come up with a suitable solution…. Of course you need to talk about it as well, but writing it down first allows you to process it. (For the creatives out there, painting, crafting, or playing the piano has the same effect. Writing is just something that EVERYONE can do, and that is why I mention it here.)
Here’s something else which helps with processing…
2) Wait before you speak
Often when we are caught up in the moment, it is extremely difficult to pause and first think about what we want to say and how we should respond. Reaction is so much easier than contemplation. However, I really think that waiting before we speak, is a powerful tool if we want to create a positive culture.
Practically, this means that you take 30 seconds or a minute to just calm down and gather your thoughts – before you respond. This allows you to get some clarity into the situation, and respond in a meaningful way, rather than just lashing out, out of raw emotion.
This leads me to the next tip. Remember, we want to create a deeply thankful culture in a world that seems to crumble….
This has to be a daily practice. A necessary conversation you should have throughout the day. There is no way that you can stay positive and thankful if you are not focused on the things in heaven. Too often, I think, we focus on everything that is happening around us. So much so, that there is no space left in our minds to focus on the things of heaven; the things that add breath to our lungs, no matter the storm and chaos around us…
If you’re not praying, I strongly want to encourage you to start. Things aren’t getting easier, and if you’re not focusing on the things that bring life, on the things of the kingdom (with which we should concern ourselves), you will find it extremely difficult to remain positive.
And, more than that, you will find it difficult to spread a positive and thankful attitude to the people around you.
Take time to be still and know who God is. Know what His plan for you is in every single situation.
5) Voice your thankfulness
The last, and perhaps the most tangible way in which you can create a thankful culture, is to voice it. All of this starts in your home. If you’re not creating this culture in your home, it will be very difficult to replicate it anywhere else.
Also, this should be something that your children are exposed to every day.
A friend of mine recently told me about something her and her husband started in their home. Every night before they go to bed, they would ask each other what they were thankful for, for that specific day. Their children are still too small to take part in this activity, but they listen in on what mom and dad are saying.
I just really believe that our children are never too young to start learning about how to voice their thankfulness. Practically, I think it would be wonderful to start this conversation around the dinner table every night. Don’t force it, but I think just to start talking about your day and voicing the things you are thankful for (rather than just the things that upset you), are so powerful.
- Focus on that which is positive
- Surround yourself with positive people
- Seek the positive
- Take your thoughts captive
- Voice your thankfulness
I’m not suggesting that you should cut yourself off of the negative things that are happening in the world around you. Just be careful of filling your mind with negative talk. Know what is happening in your surroundings so that you can pray, but do not allow yourself to become negative, or to spread it. Remember: we want to fill our hearts and our minds with that which will help us to cultivate a deeply thankful culture.
Feel free to share your thoughts and how you have made this a part of your daily living 🙂