More Happiness; Less Stress.

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I came across a book on gratitude, which has actually changed my life, and I was a very grateful person, to begin with.

We all have problems; they come to us all. Some are physical, others are emotional, and sometimes even spiritual ones arise.

We like to be in control of any change in our lives, but it doesn’t always work out that way; life evolves at an alarming rate. With all the pressure, stress and worry, we can easily get caught up in it, not seeing a way out.

“I would be very grateful if things would just work out the way I want.” Then it works out, and we are thankful for a fleeting moment.

In the book, it made reference to Matthew 13:12. “Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”

Many people have said to me, this passage sounds unjust, as it seems to be saying the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. For me, Jesus is talking about knowledge of the kingdom of heaven, but gratitude fits very well.

“Whoever has gratitude will be given more, and he will have abundance. Whoever does not have gratitude, even what he has will be taken away.”

We live in a society of MORE, everyone wants MORE, they want to lose more weight, they want more holidays, they want more money, then they will be happy. In their search for more, they are missing a vital ingredient – Gratitude.

The art of being grateful for what we already have.

When you are grateful for your job, even if it’s not perfect, your view on it will change, meaning you will enjoy it more.

When you are grateful for the relationships in your life, even if some of them are not perfect, you will begin to look at the positive aspects of them, and the appreciation for them will grow.

When you are grateful for the money you have, no matter how little, you will find, this simple change of focus makes a huge difference in how rich you feel.

The flipside is when you are not grateful, you will find that you will only look at the negative things in your job, in your relationships, you will complain about the lack of money, meaning you will not even get the enjoyment out of the little you have.

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What You Focus On Grows.

It was recommended to write down 10 things each morning that you were grateful for. I thought to myself after a few days this is going to be difficult, but what I found was, during the day new ideas kept popping into my head. It became clear to me, very quickly, there was so much in my life to be grateful for.

My list started with the Internet because it is the reason I am connecting to you today. My family for giving me a solid foundation of faith. My senses so I can experience the world in all its glory. It actually alarmed me the number of things that I took for granted.

If you mentioned being thankful for your sight to anyone that has sight they would not really appreciate what you mean. Take it away from them for even an hour, and their life would come to a stand still.

Throughout the week my list started to include the simple pleasures of life, coffee, food, clothes, nature. Then I began to realise the number of people that contributed to provide service to me throughout the week. Thousands of farmers, manufacturers, packers, delivery drivers. All essential people to my survival, but all of which, until recently – I took for granted.

Happy Person That I Am

The more I was grateful, the happier I became. There was so much in my life that I took for granted; I simply did not realise how rich and successful I really was. I have absolutely no excuse to complain about anything. In today’s high standard of living, I haven’t got much, but I am still richer than half the people on this planet.

Some people might say, all this grateful stuff is not going to make my life any better, so what if I can walk, so what if I can talk, feel, hear, see, everyone can do these things? What am I gaining by being thankful for what I already have, it seems pointless?

You will find that these same people are not entirely happy; they will constantly be depressed and stressed. No matter how much money they have, they will still have a void in their life. They will spend all the money they have, maybe even more than they have, with the illusion that MORE will fill the void, but they will still be unhappy stressed and depressed. They will still say that gratitude is a waste of time.

When you think, I don’t like my job, I’m not happy in my relationship, I haven’t got enough money, my life’s a mess, I cant pay my bills, no one appreciates me, I haven’t got enough time, then you attract more of these experiences.

Learn to turn it around to:

I’m grateful for my job. I’m grateful for the relationships that make me happy; I’m thankful for the money I have, I’m grateful for my life. I’m grateful that I am able to use service’s before I need to pay for them. I’m thankful for the people that do appreciate me.

True happiness and fulfilment come from being thankful for what you already have. When you are grateful, even the smallest increase in any of these things feels like a gift.

Much of what we take for granted living in the west, people in other parts of the world dream about.

True riches come from gratitude. Try it just for today, and you will see the difference that it makes.

Have a good weekend.

Rev J Martin

 

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How to Win Friends and Influence People.

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Many people down through the years have recommended that I read a book called, ‘How to win friends and influence people’.

The title never really appealed to me.

Recently, I received a voucher for a bookstore, which happened to be doing a promotion on the book, so I bought it. As it turned out; it was not what I expected at all. As the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover.

The first thing I found very surprising was the fact that it was written in 1937. Secondly, that it contained some principles that were just as relevant in human relations.  One chapter stood out above all others, which I will focus on today.

The chapter was called, ‘If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive.’ It talked about the fact you should never criticise someone, as you never know what they have
been through.

The author used many stories to demonstrate this point, but the ones that had the deepest impact on me involved Abraham Lincoln.

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When Mrs Lincoln and others spoke harshly about southern people. Lincoln replied, “Don’t criticise them, they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.

A very inspirational view.

Another example.

During the American civil war in fighting the Battle of Gettysburg. The enemy got cornered by a swollen river. They were trapped, surrounded on all sides.

Hearing this, Lincoln telegraphed his orders to his General, ‘Attack immediately,’ and not wait to have a council of war.

What did the General do?

He did the exact opposite of what he was told. He hesitated. He procrastinated. He called a council of war. He refused point blank to attack. Within a week, the waters receded, and the enemy escaped.

Lincoln was furious. They had the enemy at their weakest point. The war could have been over in a matter of days, but the general called up all his troops for a meeting.

In bitter disappointment at his general, Lincoln sat down and wrote a letter, and at this time a letter coming from Lincoln was the severest rebuke.

What do you think the general did when he read the letter?

The general never seen the letter. Lincoln never mailed it. It was found among his papers when he died.

It was said, that Lincoln never mailed the letter because he saw it from the Generals perspective. If he had seen as much blood, if he had listened to the screams and shrieks of the wounded and dying for weeks; maybe he would not have been so anxious to attack.

Rather than criticise, he put himself in the general’s boots.

It reminded me of how quickly we often jump to a conclusion and judge or criticise without much thought where the other person is coming from.

How To Apply

When we find ourselves annoyed of upset at what someone said or done, it is important to rather than take offence to take a step back and look at the situation.

This is easier said than done.

This requires a strength of character as it is human nature to defend what we think is correct. It’s in these moments that our faith is tested.

Do we show love and understanding, or not. It’s in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped. Be shaped by Love.

Enjoy your weekend.
Rev J Martin