Often our state of mind dictates how our days, weeks and months play out. A prolonged negative state of mind could even alter our sense of self from day to day. Sometimes our attitudes sour, and without notice we allow those negative emotions to take over and grow out of control as weeds in our hearts. Creating within us a selfish nature, one that prompts hate and impatience.

For months I allowed the toxicity of others to suck the joy from my days. I became so focused on and anxious about how other people treated me, and what they must think that I began to distrust everyone. I was living as though my happiness was dependent on others, making it difficult for me to see that the change I was looking for must come from within. I do not generally like going around judging people, but I was and harshly so. I was waiting for someone else to showcase the goodwill and care that I felt was missing. Thoughtfulness was no longer my first reaction, instead I cast judgment upon almost everyone I came in contact with, weighing in on the person I believed them to be.

In moments like these when I am questioning my purpose I have always turned to God for guidance and peace, trusting He will provide. So I flipped into my devotional and the page was covered with thoughts on thankfulness. I had to work hard on shifting my stubborn frame of mind, it took some time and I still do not claim to be perfect. I began to see life through positive eyes, expecting the best from every person and situation I was met with. Consciously being thankful and realizing that I have something to smile about automatically gave me a better outlook on the day ahead of me. It became second nature — the joy it brought me to count my blessings created a cycle of appreciation.

Gratitude and respect go hand in hand. If you really mean it when you say thank you it means that you respect the service, or sacrifice from another. I feel supremely blessed to have grown up the way that I did, because it taught me a multitude about love and respect. Growing up on a ranch I was blessed with the opportunity to witness the process of life up close, from birth and onto death I was by the animals side. I learned so much about appreciation, and tolerance from raising cattle, and I hope more people are being raised with similarly influential childhoods. We need to treat everyone and everything with the same kindness and respect that we wish to be given, and that should be common sense.

Our lives can be so chaotic, we often drain our own patience but project it on others, attributing blame on them as if they were the ones causing our pain.

Simple ideas such as kindness and gratitude can change our lives so immensely, but seldom do we give them any thought. We must be more conscious of ourselves and the ways that we choose to treat other human beings, from simple conversations to more intense interactions.

Currently there is so much negativity and hate in our nation, and our world, there’s no need to act so sourly towards anyone in our small community. We should be acting as a tightly knit family, willing to work with one another benevolently and sensibly. I’m not saying that this comes easily, but I have found inspiration in the selfless people I talk to everyday. The people who remain positive despite their suffering, and the amazing friends who I would have overlooked or ignored during my trial with bitterness. Luckily, despite my unapproachable attitude and our many differences, they still responded to me thoughtfully, and this has had a positive effect on me. I will always be thankful for those who have shown me kindness even when I had least deserved it, and I hope to inspire joy and acceptance in others as they have done for me. It takes a habit to make a change, and being grateful is a start, so what is your intent for the day?

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