The Importance of Being Grateful

credit: BR via Flickr

credit: BR via Flickr

In my ebook The Improbable Millionaire, I talk about growing up poor. Oh my gosh, how lucky was I! Although my home was troubled and money was tight or nonexistence most of the time, we had so much more than many of my wealthier friends and neighbors. It’s not what we have that brings us abundance, but how we feel about what we have.

I can remember a Christmas when I was about seven years old. My grandmother gave me a skirt that she had bought for me when she visited New York City. Black with red and yellow and green stars on it, it had a wide hem and when I twirled around, it would swing with me. I loved that skirt and probably wore it to school two or three times a week all the way through elementary school. When I finally out grew it and couldn’t wear it as a regular skirt any more, I used to dress up in it on Halloween or when I went roller skating. I don’t know what eventually happened to it, but that one gift and how I felt about it stills lingers in my mind today.

I did not get lots of other presents for Christmas that year or any year. But the presents I did get, I cherished and adored and was so grateful for. I can still remember the joy I felt when I just touched that skirt, knowing something so beautiful was mine, and how good I felt when I wore it–even after the 100th or so wearing.

I was so lucky to have had that experience–to know how it feels to love one small insignificant thing and get so much joy out of it. Although one of the poorest children in my school, I was filled with joy and gratefulness and abundance.

In today’s world where we shower our children with so many gifts, we may be robbing them of the greatest gift we can give them–the chance to treasure the small things.

To truly be grateful brings so much joy. Abundance, after all, is just a perception. In a world where we have so much, we sometimes complain that it’s never enough, focusing more on what we don’t have rather than being grateful for what we do have.

We envy movie stars and other wealthy people because we think they have everything they could possibly want. But do they? Do they really have abundance and joy? Or can anyone so exposed in their life to their public truly be free–or are they imprisoned by their things? I don’t know. But I do know that I don’t envy them. I would much rather be me.

Although what we have may seem little, if what we have in life brings us joy, and if we are grateful for that joy, we are lucky to be us. We don’t need anything else. We have abundance.

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About Liz Stauffer

Liz Morningstar Stauffer’s improbable journey—from a divorced mother of two at the age of 34 to a millionaire some 15 years later—has inspired her to create the blog “The Improbable Millionaire," offering tips, advice, stories and support for people on a similar journey—even if they don’t know it yet!

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