By Cynthia Sutherland
Deliberately adopt an attitude of appreciation. When you intentionally appreciate aspects of your life, it starts you on your way to feeling good.
And when you feel good, you will be inspired to positive action. Others will notice.
This time of year, many of us are automatically led by the holiday season to focus on our blessings. We’re told to identify positive circumstances, family members and friends, and what they mean to us. We may or may not “feel” those blessings. It can be just an exercise, but what if you take it seriously?
As a catalyst, there are always stories about someone worse off than we are who has a positive attitude and achieves against great odds, or someone better off who shares their blessings with others less fortunate.
Yet here you are: still unemployed as you move into this season of Thanksgiving. So it may make it a little harder to imagine the light at the end of that tunnel. Or to appreciate the job search, or other aspects of your life right now.
But I say that not feeling appreciation promotes a very conditional view of life. “If I get this job, I’ll be happy.” “If I achieve that success, I’ll be happier.” “If I have that relationship, then I can love life.” If…if…if.
It often is that way, though, a learned behavior from the time we were very young. We cried our eyes out for the truck or doll that we wanted at that moment. And when we got that toy, it made us happy for a minute. Then we moved on to the next item we had to have to be happy.
Have you tried recently, just for kicks, to act happy, or to appreciate certain aspects of your life, just to see what would happen? I have. It really starts some positive juices flowing, you begin to feel better, and your outlook on life shifts – even if it’s just in the moment. And your outlook about your job search will shift to a more positive view as well.
Make a list. List the things, situations, people, foods, anything that you like. Then think about why you feel good about the items on your list. When you do, more reasons, and more things will come to mind. And you will start to feel some real appreciation.
You could do the same thing about all those things you don’t like, but that will make you feel bad. Our normal analytical selves assist us in doing this every day. But we’re not looking for a pity party, or pros and cons, just a way to uplift your spirits.
A feeling of appreciation builds on itself if you let it. Return to the list the next day and add to it, or start a new list each day.
After a time, you will move more automatically to think about how great your life is, how blessed you really are. And you will realize that you are gaining more knowledge about yourself and others as a result of what you experienced in your job search.
Next year, your list can be a retrospective about what you learned in your job search process, and how wonderful people were in helping. And you will be ready to help the next person who may just be starting their search process.
Cynthia Sutherland is a senior human resources professional, focusing primarily on diversity and inclusion and work-life.
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