I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
For some people, the Thanksgiving holiday is what comes to mind when they think of gratitude. But it is so much more than an annual holiday. Rather, gratitude is a way of life that can have a deep impact on you. So, what happens when we don’t focus on gratitude in our lives?
Negative Effects of Not Focusing On Gratitude
Just as gratitude can have a positive effect on you; refusing to express gratitude has a host of negative effects including these three problems…
Negative Effect #1: Poor Self-Image
When you focus on what you don’t have, it’s easy to develop a poor self-image. For example, Mary’s parents couldn’t afford to get her braces when she was young. As she grew up, she would look in the mirror and focus on how ugly she thought her teeth were.
Over time, this habit led Mary to develop a poor self-image. Instead of seeing herself as a beautiful work of art, she focused on her flaws. The more she focused on her teeth, the less Mary wanted to take care of herself in other areas. This created a loop of negative thoughts that Mary carried with her everywhere she went.
We can easily get sucked into a comparison trap.
When we sold our house in Alaska, we gave up owning over an acre plus a log home we loved. Now we split our time between a townhouse in Colorado and a duplex in Alaska. Neither gives us the same amount of space or features like a heated garage that we miss. But, instead of dwelling on having a cold booty on winter days, I try to focus on how blessed we are to split our time between two incredible places.
Negative Effect #2: Difficulty with Forgiveness
Forgiveness is never easy. It means letting go of grudges and moving on with our lives. While many of us say we want to heal from hurts, there is something comforting staying with the status quo.
Emily was in an auto accident with a drunk driver. Although she survived, she was left with long-term nerve damage down the left side of her body. The other driver walked away without a scratch and without ever apologizing.
She waited to have her say in court only for the other driver to get a light sentence. Emily fell into a deep depression. While she suffered every day in pain, the offender walked free and his life was barely impacted.
Then one day, Emily wrote a letter she never sent. In it, she forgave the man who had hurt her so deeply. She decided that day to stop focusing on what the accident had taken from her. Instead, she looked at what it gave her—a second chance at life, a new business that she loved, and a deeper relationship with her husband.
Negative Effect #3: Negative Mindset
Paying too much attention to what you don’t have can create a negative mindset. It happened to Jody. She followed a leader she admired on Instagram. The woman’s posts seemed to indicate that her life was perfect. She had a beautiful home, a loving husband, a thriving business, and two wonderful kids.
Over time, Jody became friends with the other woman. She was shocked to learn that the leader’s life wasn’t perfect.
The beautiful house was a rental because theirs had been destroyed in a hurricane. The loving husband was seriously ill and in need of caregiving. The woman’s children had life-threatening allergies. The thriving business was in the middle of a messy transition.
When Jody asked why the other woman never shared about these things on social media, the woman shrugged, “Despite it all, I feel blessed. Yes, my life is hard but there’s so much I’m grateful for.”
Don’t allow negativity, bitterness, or a poor self-image keep you from living your best life. Gratitude is a choice and it’s one you can make right now, no matter what’s happening around you.
And if you struggle to find it, here’s an image to help envoke gratitude…a gorgeous blue Hawaiian sky with the ocean and beach both in view.