How to Appreciate the Small Stuff
by Merryl Lentz
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Winning the lottery, having the newest gadget or possessing a fancy car are all things that many people would love to have in their life. But in our quest for the ultimate material satisfaction, and in our fast-paced lives, we often overlook the things that are small but precious. And the fact is that most of our lives are, indeed, a series of small things and moments. If we can learn to appreciate these things and moments, our lives can shift to ones of far more peace and happiness.
When you fail to recognize and appreciate the little things, you become unable to be touched by life itself. Rather than noticing and appreciating God's perfect, divine plan, you ignore most of it. The wonder, awe, appreciation and gratitude for life are overlooked -- and you'll find yourself continuously in a depressed or frustrated state. This is because when you're not focused on what's right and beautiful your attention will be consumed by what's wrong, what's annoying and what's absent. You'll be zeroing in on problems, instead of the small things that deliver happiness -- and are right there in front of you.
This type of awareness is unfortunate, because it turns into a vicious cycle that transforms the way you view and experience the world around you. You'll be too focused on negative things for the smile of the checkout clerk or the beautiful, sunny day to even register with you.
However, when the majority of your attention is homed in on what's right with your life, you'll derive huge benefit from that perspective. You'll experience the feeling that life is miraculous, and that every moment is precious. Instead of complaining about traffic, you'll notice a good song on the radio as you're driving. Again, your attention will become cyclical, and you'll begin noticing more and more things to appreciate, and your positivity will escalate.
Things that you think are major are actually fairly insignificant. For example, money, an accomplishment, or a material item may feel extremely important. Yet when you look back on your life, these things may seem shallow and lose their importance. On the other hand, nature's majesty, or a newborn baby's fingers wrapped around your own will become things to be treasured.
When someone only rejoices in the big stuff, they will only experience short-lived moments of happiness. However, someone who feels gratitude for life's small pleasures will be happy most of the time, and will find reasons for celebration in everything.
One of those reasons is appreciation for a beautiful day. Most people take the weather for granted. No matter what kind of weather the day may bring, try to find appreciation for it. Enjoy the luster and warmth of a sunny day, and take your lunch outside to bask in the sunlight. If it's raining, enjoy the sound of it upon the roof, or the fun of splashing in a puddle like a kid -- and if there's thunder, take pleasure from its power. When you stop to appreciate the day, you'll get a wonderful sense of peace.
You can also appreciate the kindness of a stranger. Notice the little things that people do -- even if they aren't being done for you -- and rekindle your faith in humanity. You might see someone on the bus give up their seat for someone else, or a tech support person on the phone may give you a sincere pleasantry to have a good day. These are small things, and yet when we notice them, they're really quite big.
The love of family is important to appreciate too. Although it's often easier to notice the negative side of things, the love of your family is a great thing, yet it's one of the easiest to take for granted. Call your relatives, and send them letters and emails. Have appreciation for the way in which growing up with the family you have has influenced the person you are today. Seek happiness in acknowledging the good things that have transpired in your life because of them.
Give yourself credit for your own strength. This is the hardest area in which to find happiness, because not everyone holds the belief that they're a strong person. Regardless of how weak you think you are, you do possess an inner strength that has carried you through various hard times during your life.
Appreciate what you've been able to do through your own power and fortitude, whether it's something big or small. You've been in many situations where you had to be strong in one form or another. Never negate that fact, and garner joy from all that you have done, and all that lies ahead for you to do. It's one of the many little, precious things that have played big roles in your life.
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