“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but also the parents of others”

– Cicero, the Philosopher

A few weeks ago, I ordered a pizza for my son. He asked me if I had ordered his favorite ingredients, I replied that I had gotten a plain pizza. He looked sad and got upset that I had not ordered his favorite ingredients. I went on to make this a teachable moment about gratitude. I told him that there was a whole, scrumptious, warm pizza in front of him and because he was worrying about the ingredients that were not there, he was unable to enjoy the pizza. He then thought about what I had told him and said, “”you’re right mami, I am grateful for my pizza and I will enjoy it.”

Like my son did with his pizza, we are so busy focusing on the missing ingredients, that we miss out on the whole pizza! We place conditions on our happiness: “If I had this job, I’d be happy, If I weighed this much, I’d be happy, If I had this much money, I’d be happy.” We constantly worry about all the different things we do not have. We worry about the people that did not want to be in our lives and we don’t focus on the people that are constantly there. I wholeheartedly believe that if something is not in your life at the moment, or someone left, it is for a reason.

When Cicero stated that gratitude was the greatest of all virtues, he knew what the key to happiness was. When we live with a sense of gratitude, we learn to be happy with what we have. I am in no way saying that we need to be complacent, however, we can build on what it is that we want, by learning to be happy with what we have. The fruits that you produce in your life are basically a direct result of what it is that we feed our minds. If we focus on the negative, what we don’t have, our fruits will be resentment, jealousy, anger, sadness and fear. If we learn and apply gratitude, our fruits will be happiness, kindness, compassion and love.

The Self-Care assignment for you is to buy a notebook or journal to be your gratitude journal. I want you to be more mindful at everything that is surrounding you. What are those blessings that are in your life that can be taken for granted? Who are the people that are constantly in your life? What good things happened to you through the day? Find the beauty in all the good things that occurred.

Before going to bed each night, write about all these things in your gratitude journal. You will see how things you didn’t notice before become more significant. Before you know it, you will see changes in you; you will see changes in the people around you. All because you decided to be grateful.

Gratitude is essential to being happy… and remember that Self-Love starts with you!