The Easiest, Simplest, Happiest Way to Stay Grateful (Every day)

BY: - 11 Nov '14 | Home

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“No matter how bad you think you have it, somebody always has it worse.” I’ve heard and used that phrase countless times in my life, when I felt down and frustrated about my problems. While there is some truth to that statement, I decided to stop using it as a trampoline to snap me back into walking in a spirit of gratitude.

Earlier this year I heard a message preached at church that really helped me change my perspective. To paraphrase, the pastor said that he used to feel so much more grateful for what God had given him after returning home from mission trips to third world countries. He’d say things like, “Oh, those people have so little, yet they still praise God. We are so blessed to have all of these amenities and don’t praise God enough for them.” He’d be excited for a while, giving thanks for everything all day, everyday – until things got comfortable for him again.

This really resonated with me because I know I’ve done the same thing at times! You volunteer at a homeless shelter or donate some clothes to a needy family and poof! Gratitude abounds. But when lean times come around, that excitement and attitude of gratitude starts to fade.

At the heart of his message, he said that expressing our gratitude should not come from measuring what we have against what others do not. In order to truly be grateful, we have to stop (literally stop) and reflect back on our own lives and remember what God has done specifically for us in the past. Recalling those things to our memory – times when we were broke yet the bills still got paid, times when we were hungry and food appeared on the table, times when we were sick and our bodies were healed – is the easiest, simplest, happiest way stay grateful (everyday).

Furthermore, whenever we feel our faith slipping while we wait for God to answer our prayers, remembering what He’s already done in our lives is the best way to amplify our trust. Comparing ourselves to others is the quickest way for trust and faith to evaporate.

Now, whenever I start to feel my mind wandering to a place of thinking that what I have in front of me isn’t enough, I remember how far God has brought me in my life, instead of considering how much more He’s given me than someone else. When we operate from a place lack as a mindset, the truth is that we’ll never have enough. We’ll always want more – a bigger house, a better job, and more money in the bank. I am committing to staying content with what I have and seeing my world through the lens of abundance instead of lack.

I believe that this is especially important as a person with big dreams. It’s important to dream big, but on the way to achieving them, we have to stay grateful for every high and low along the way. It’s the only way to fully experience true joy and humility when our dreams our finally realized.

BMWK family, as the holiday season falls upon us, let’s remember to stay grateful, not for all things, but in all things.

BMWK, what are you grateful for? 

About the author

Amber Wright wrote 39 articles on this blog.

Amber is a Communication Coach and Consultant that wants to help you learn how to say it right – from the boardroom to the bedroom! Visit her website, www.talktoamber.com, to find fun and insightful information on how to improve your communication skills and overall quality of life.

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4 Ways to Save the “Strong Black Woman” in Your Life from Losing Herself

BY: - 12 Nov '14 | Home

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If I could quit my job, buy a pick-up truck with a megaphone attached and spend the rest of my days shouting from the top of my lungs and paraphrase one of my favorite bell hooks quotes ” Strength is not the ability to overcome, but endure,” I would.

It is such an important concept for black families to understand—black women are not here to live their lives shouldering the burdens of others. Seriously. There has to be point where we go beyond the act of enduring, silent suffering, and noble martyrdom. (That’s for the birds.)

Black women, like any other women, are entitled to transformation, happiness, hope, and the full spectrum of their feminine humanity.

And celebrating the tired trope of black women’s strengths in our households clips our collective proverbial wings.

Give us free.

If you see the black women that you love; running themselves ragged to hold everyone down and everything together as primary breadwinners, and chief emotional caregivers in the family because of the unrealistic expectations placed on them, please help her by doing the following:

Remind her that her worth is not measured by what she does for others, but by who she is. The black woman in your life should not have to prove herself worthy of love. Her presence, her support, and her decision to share her life with you should be enough. This doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t be allowed to do things for others, but if she is jeporidizing her health for the family, she needs to know that she is not helping anyone by neglecting to take care of herself.

Send her to the spa or therapy for mandatory pampering and self-care. Despite what it looks like from the outside, the typical “strong black woman” is a pile of nerves on the inside. She is often frazzled, anxious, and worried but does not feel that she can remove the mask and get her needs met. Sending her to a spa and therapy can be a soothing and rejuvenating practice that will help slow down life’s pace so she can catch her breath. In addition to letting her guard down to confide in someone for support and the answers.

Teach her the power of “no.” Saying “no” saves lives. If you study the typical strong black woman, she may seem saucy and sassy. She may in fact have a few choice colorful words for you when you make an obscenely obnoxious request, but you rarely hear her say, “No.” Deep inside your strong black woman is eager to please, believes in loyalty (to a fault), and somehow believes that saying “no” will destroy a relationship. She needs to know that the practice of saying “no” is important for creating personal boundaries, reducing feelings of resentment and burn-out, and strengthening others in the family to grow up and take the lead more often.

Highlight her other positive qualities. As a culture, we praise the attribute of strength in our black women. And it makes sense – up to a point. Because of our history in this country as slaves and second-class citizens, black women had to pull from a spiritual reserve and mental fortitude to make things work. But the black female experience is more than its history of marginalization and as a community, we need to focus on the qualities that round out black women’s complete humanity.

Besides being strong, black women are funny, beautiful, generous, financially savvy, feminine, loyal, kind, creative, and a host of other things. I bet she would love to hear all of these things as well. When was the last time you told her that?

BMWK: What are some other ways that we can celebrate black women’s humanity besides drawing attention to her strength?

About the author

Kara Stevens wrote 150 articles on this blog.

Kara is a motivational speaker, life coach, and founder of the personal finance and lifestyle blog The Frugal Feminista .

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