Gratitude is the core ingredient to a rich and fulfilling life.

Unfortunately it is easier to focus on the negative: how others don’t do their share of the work, what we don’t have, what others have done to hurt us and the negative experiences of our past. Fear and judgment is our natural default until we learn to consciously change our perspective. These fear-based feelings and emotions keep us drained, unfulfilled and empty.

We are trying to fill ourselves up from the outside which is always fleeting and often self-defeating.  

Without gratitude we find ourselves in a constant battle to maintain our emotional well-being. We’ve all heard the term “my cup runneth over” and “being half-empty,’ but what does that mean exactly? The fullness of our cup, or life, is a direct reflection of how we view ourselves and our lives. Even when we begin to fill our cup a little bit, we pour some out as we give away our precious selves in the hope of getting some of it back, giving bits and pieces of ourselves away because we feel guilty if we don’t.  It is in our nature to nurture and care for those around us in compassion. Yet many of us sacrifice ourselves to others until there is nothing left to give. We put the needs of others ahead of our own and in the process we are depleted emotionally and physically.  We try to fill ourselves up with the perceptions of others and their gratitude for our selflessness and feel empty and unfulfilled when our efforts go unappreciated.

Our cup is easily kept full and overflowing when we live each day in our own gratitude rather than expecting others to fill it up for us. While appreciation from others feels good it is also temporary. True fullness comes from within. Staying focused on everything that is good and beautiful in our lives keeps us from arriving at that feeling of emptiness because true gratitude is internal.

The truth is that we simply cannot give what we do not have. If our cup is empty and depleted any attempts to give to others are laced with resentment.

When we stop and change our focus, everything changes.  When we stop placing our fulfillment in the perceptions of others, and see our world thorough our own eyes, we can see with gratitude. When we live our lives in a constant state of gratitude our cup begins to fill and overflow. Feeding ourselves gratitude begins with looking for it everywhere in our existence, even when it doesn’t first appear there is anything to be grateful for.

If you have a cold, be grateful for tissues and cold medicine – gratitude really is that simple. 

Even when the world around us is in chaos we are filled with peace, love and joy. It is from this fullness we can give and are compelled to give. We are overflowing and when we give from the overflow, not only does it not drain us; giving in itself helps to keep us full because of the joy we receive in the process. The key to real prosperity and fulfillment is living in a constant state of gratitude. Those who have found fulfillment know when to give, and how much they can afford to give while still honoring their own well-being. They understand how to keep themselves full, and help to fill the cup of others.