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10 Things Grateful People Don’t Do

10 Things Grateful People Don’t Do

We equate happiness as a state in which we are always happy. We allow ourselves to believe it’s not good to cry. It’s not good to feel pain. It’s not good to feel sad, or be down, or experience setback, or go through heartbreak. But true happiness and inner contentment happens when your heart is grateful for everything your life experiences – the good, the bad, the hard, the easy, the defeats and the victories. The gratitude you express – or choose to not express – spills over into everything you do and everyone you meet.

Some of the happiest people on the planet are those free of circumstantial happiness. Their surroundings tell them they have nothing to be happy about, yet they smile and live life to the fullest. In a society built on comparison, materialistic gain, selfish ambition and more, more, more, it’s inspiring to be around these types of people – the ones who aren’t clawing and fighting to step on anyone or anything to be the best or get to the top. It’s refreshing to be around people who appreciate what they have, love who they are and embrace where they’re going. These people are living. They’re fully present. They’re embracing the here and now, seeing every day as an opportunity to become a better version of themselves and enjoying the journey in the meantime.

So what do they do? Better yet, what don’t they do and how can we be like them?

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1. They don’t compare their journey to anyone else’s.

It would be easy to fall into the trap of, “I wish,” “If only,” “They’re so lucky.” But what’s the point? Focusing on your faults and someone else’s strengths will not change one single thing about yourself or your situation. Instead, focus on what you do have, and carry on.

2. They don’t need to “feel” happy in order to be happy.

Happiness is based on always being happy. Contentment is a continual inner display of happiness regardless of life’s uncontrollable circumstances. See the difference? Practicing gratitude on a daily basis is the gateway for which both of these roads intersect.

3. They don’t run from their imperfections.

Every single human being on this earth has faults. No one is flawless. To assume people are perfect only proves how toxic our thinking can be. The first step to love your life is to admit (especially to yourself) you aren’t perfect but to move forward. Imperfections can be our greatest teachers if we see them as the catalyst for personal growth and change.

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4. They don’t ignore rest.

It’s not hard to work 60+ hours a week. There is plenty of pressure to always perform, constantly compete, and continually keep up. But the people who approach life with a sense of gratitude and calm are those who make the time to pause. They create quality pockets of time in which they can kick back and relax. It becomes their safe place where they can recharge, rejuvenate and refresh before heading back into the rat race.

5. They don’t forget the importance of relationship.

You can’t do life on your own. We like to think we can – like we’re tough and impenetrable and that life won’t drag us down. But we’re human. To find people who you can be safe and real with is what creates a strong foundation you can stand on when the going gets tough. But in order to have quality friends in your time of need, you need to be a quality friend in their time of need. Important investments take time. Reciprocal relationships take work.

6. They don’t allow time to control them.

Everyone gets 24 hours in the run of a day. That’s it! There is no extra hour to be found hiding under a bed somewhere. Grateful people know this. They know how precious of a commodity time really is, and they respect it. They see every single day as an opportunity to take charge of what they can take charge of, and they purposefully, diligently and intentionally make beautiful use of it.

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7. They don’t overlook the value in everyday people.

It happens over and over again – a cashier is dismissed, a homeless man is overlooked, an elderly lady is ignored, and a child is shrugged to the side. A grateful heart sees the value in every single human being. They recognize and appreciate that every person has potential to teach them something new and help them become a better person. We will never arrive. Our lives are on a continual journey of discovery and people are what matters most.

8. They don’t set pace to the rhythm of rush.

Speed up, so once you get there, you can speed to the next place. Why? What’s the rush? When you slow down to take in the scenery of your life, you notice the little details that lend subtle depth to what’s happening in the big picture. Big life moments would never happen without the little steps that have been taken to get there. Notice them.

9. They don’t give in to the pressure to have, be, and do it all.

Everything you have right now is enough. Everything you are right now is enough. There are people who could only dream to have the talent, the time, the money, the opportunity you have right now. Think about that. Ponder that. Appreciate that. Let that sink in. Then build a life around this mentality rather than the one that finds you never measuring up.

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10. They don’t take life for granted.

You would never be where you are today without that math teacher, that music instructor, that football coach, your Grandma, your Mom, your Aunt. Your life at present is marked with achievement and success because of the people who helped you get to where you are today. It takes but a few minutes to compile a list stating all the amazing things you already have. Try it. You’d be amazed how much you have going on in your life at this moment.

Featured photo credit: Cuba Gallery Lighthouse Blog via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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