Finding gratitude is a fundamental step in the self-improvement process. You can’t expect anything new to come into your life without first having a genuine sense of appreciation for what you have now.

Gratitude invites a sense of humility and a focus on what truly matters – which can be especially challenging in our materialistic society. It helps you to see that while you may not have everything you want, you do have more than everything you need. Gratitude brings everything into balance and gives you a proper perspective.

What’s Fear Got To Do With It?

The process of finding gratitude requires you to face the darkest and most negative things or people in your life – things that have caused you pain, anger or other unpleasant feelings (e.g. an awful boss or a painful divorce).

Your task is to then find gratitude for those things. The truth is that often the greatest gifts come from our most painful experiences. They may bring the opportunity to learn something new, to build your character or to develop a new sense of strength and independence.

There may also be a fear that if you express gratitude for what you have, you won’t ever get anything more. Actually, you can be grateful and still want more or different things. They go hand and hand. After all, the Universe provides everything we have. If you were to give someone a gift and they didn’t show appreciation for it, would you want to give them more?

Find Gratitude

Begin today to practice finding gratitude for little things throughout the day. The simplest, silliest things can fill a moment with pleasure – a beautiful flower, your favorite breakfast or listening to your favorite song. Then, at the end of your day, jot down as many of these things as you can remember. Try to include at least one negative thing that you found a reason to be grateful for.

When you find gratitude for the positive and negative things in your life, all of a sudden you feel a greater sense of readiness to take on new challenges. Because you’ve proven to yourself that no matter how they turn out, you’ll be able to find the gift in every experience.

You also give yourself a catalog of wonderful things to be happy about – something I call a Gratitude List – to turn your mind to when challenges pop up during the day.