Day 23 of The #FeelingGrateful Blog Series: The Attitude of Gratitude and How to Cultivate a Grateful Heart by Brenda Blindenbach

I was contemplating on how to cultivate a grateful heart and having the attitude of gratitude this morning and it stirred up the memory of a wonderful song of praise called Give Thanks with a grateful heart that I used to sing years ago. My musings caused me to realise that the way to cultivate a grateful heart starts with self reflection and contemplating on what one is grateful for.

It made me think of this saying by Albert Einstein "A hundred times a day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depends on the labours of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the measure as I have received and am still receiving."

Dietrich Bonheoffer had this to say "In ordinary life we hardly realise that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. It is very easy to overestimate the importance of our achievements in comparison with what we owe others."

Niakan is a form of the Japanese art of self reflection which translates as "inside observation," or "seeing ones self through the minds eye." Greg Krech author of Niakan: Gratitude, Grace and the Japanese Art of self expression is one of the leading authorities in Niakan in the USA and has a lot to say about this form of self reflection.

When we focus our attention on our behaviour in our relationship with parents, siblings, friends, partners, co-workers and neighbours, it encourages us to accept the circumstances of life rather than getting stuck in our feelings about them.

The self reflection is established on three questions that you ask yourself. It has to do with your relationship to your partner, parents, siblings, children and friends.

1. What did I receive from others today__________?
2. What did I give to others today __________?
3. What troubles and difficulties did I cause others today __________?

Looking at the first of the three questions; a friend could have invited you out to lunch, or that you received a long awaited letter from a member of your family. Often we do not pay any attention to these small things and take them for granted. We tend to notice only the blocks and problems that are in front of us. Instead by giving attention to those little blessings we can be strengthened by the support that comes our way.

The second self reflection question is what have I given to others today? This could be helping your children with their homework, doing some volunteer work in your community, coaching a baseball team. Reflecting on this question gives you a conscious realisation of the contribution that you have given to others.

The third question can be a bit of a challenge. We are quick to observe when others are late and have kept us waiting, or getting impatient because the person is taking longer than usual in the line up at the bank, yet we are not even consciously aware when we may be the source of a problem. Somehow when it comes to us, we think it was not such a big deal or we justify the act with some excuse.

However we need to take a serious look at the last of these three questions. It takes courage and a willingness to look at ourselves with truth and honesty. The upside of taking time for self reflection is that is that we start to live with awareness and on purpose.

Self reflection on these three questions is one of the best ways that I know of to cultivate a grateful heart. It generating in us a feeling of gratitude which arouses the desire to give something back not out of obligation but because we are overflowing with a grateful heart for all the support and love that we have received from others.

Brenda Blindenbach the Possibilities DNA Expert enables you to shift limiting conscious and subconscious beliefs. Claim your free bi-weekly newsletter & access to the audio file "Do You Understand The Laws Of The Universe" by visiting our website & blog at
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