Choosing Gratitude

Choosing Gratitude

by Rachel Langlois

I have two sayings that I keep on my kitchen hutch, both by President Hinckley. There are many things I admired about President Hinckley, and among those things I admired were his unfailing optimism and his beautiful marriage to his beloved wife, Marjorie Hinckley. 

Sometimes, I place quotes around my house and I end up "not seeing" them--I frequently walk by them and overlook their words and their meaning. The quotes I keep in my kitchen, however, sit on my kitchen hutch in direct view of my seat at the kitchen table, and I find myself studying and pondering their words them almost every evening. The first quote says, "Try a little harder to be a little better." I remind myself these words more often than I would care to admit, as I make many human mistakes. However, they uplift as well as remind me. It's not that hard to try just a little bit harder and be just a little bit better, and I am grateful for every day that grants me the opportunity to try just a little harder to be better than I was the day before. 

The other quote I have goes hand-in-hand with the first quote: "Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out." This is another thing I often tell myself-- "this will work itself out. It's all going to be ok." However, I've found that I can change the word "happy" in the quote to "grateful," and the quote takes on a whole new meaning for me. "Those who move forward with a GRATEFUL spirit will find that things always work out."

Recently, I found myself caught up in the worries of life. I was caught up in worry over the happiness of those around me. I worried that I wasn't doing enough at work.  I worried that I am a constant cause of disappoint to my parents and elders. I worried that my kids think I'm the meanest mom in the world. I worried that I wasn't doing enough as a wife... The list went on and on, and I found myself looking at the negative side of many things and feeling as though the weight of the world rested on my shoulders. After a discussion with my husband, I asked him what I could do for him, and his answer was sweet and simple. "Smile more." I chuckled at his response, and sat down to work on my laptop.  I found my gaze wandering to that quote on my kitchen hutch, and I thought about how much I had forgotten to smile about and grateful for. I made a concerted effort that day to remember the things that I was happy about and to express my gratitude (even if only inwardly). Day by day, I found I was smiling more and worrying less. The amazing thing about gratitude and happiness is that happiness begets happiness. When you look for ways to be happy or to be grateful, more opportunities for happiness and gratitude land in your path. Consciously thinking about "smiling more" gave way to simply smiling. As I prayed in gratitude, I found that I recognized more and more things that I needed to express gratitude for, which only served as a reminder of how much love Heavenly Father has for His children. 

I don't think it's always easy for us to choose happiness, but I DO think that we can try just a little harder to be just a little better about choosing to look for the good. It's out there. Heavenly Father wants us to be happy, and His gifts are in abundance. Especially this Christmas season, I challenge all of us to look at our lives with a softer lens and remember to choose gratitude, choose happiness, and choose love.