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Raised in the South, I was taught to always say two simple words to any act of consideration or kindness. I’m sure you know what they are. “Thank You.” Not doing so would have caused me serious trouble (like a backhand).

Growing up, there seemed to be so much to be thankful for. The beauty of growing up with less is that you’re thankful for the smallest things. I’ll never forget that one time we stayed at a Motel 6. It had a pool, which was such a big deal to me. It didn’t matter that it was only 4 feet deep and enclosed with a chain linked fence with highway traffic zooming by. I said “Thanks, Daddy,” when he splurged on the $40 room. I was so grateful.

When grownups act like spoiled children.

A “thank you” shouldn’t be just for teaching your kids about good manners. And it shouldn’t be reserved for only people or extravagant things. Life, in general, deserves a huge thank you, don’t you think? Every single day, we are offered gifts that we often take for granted. We’ve all done it, complaining about things that others would be grateful for. It has helped me tremendously to have perspective and to call myself out when I’m acting like a spoiled adult. Here’s what it sounds like: (and for entertainment value, add whining voice) I don’t like my job. I don’t have enough. I have so much laundry to do. I don’t like my house. They get to go there, and I don’t. She got a promotion, and I didn’t. I don’t like my body. It’s not fair that it’s so easy for her. I don’t have anything to wear. I don’t make enough money. Why do I have to live here?

The worst years of my life were when I forgot my manners.

Where I grew up, if you were someone who didn’t say “thanks”, you were considered poorly raised. That child has no manners. And that’s a Southern parent’s worst nightmare. I am not proud to admit that at one point of my adulthood, I forgot my manners. In fact, I had become that spoiled rotten child my parents feared. I was constantly focused on all that I thought was “wrong” with life and comparing my life to others. I was treating the Universe like an ATM machine with my constant “give me” attitude and then complaining when I didn’t get it. One of my worst moments was when I became upset that my room service was 30 minutes late. Oh, I can imagine my mama smacking me good for that one. In that moment, I started to miss the younger me who was grateful for the little things, the things that I had started to overlook in my adult life. My attitude was not only keeping me stuck in toxic complaining and comparison, but it was robbing me of the magic of everyday moments that I had forgotten to see. It was also making it impossible to create what I deeply wanted: joy.

A “thank you” is 1,000 times more powerful than “I hate this.”

We often think we have to hate where we are and resist it to change it. But this attitude only keeps you stuck with a bad attitude and circumstances that never change. A grateful heart will attract more into your life than you ever imagined. When I find myself acting like a spoiled baby about a flight delay, I switch it to how amazing it is that I am able to fly somewhere at 30,000 feet in the air. It took people months to travel that far at one point. Thank you, life! Just this morning, I found myself acting a bit spoiled. My daughter called me to tell me she’d had a headache all night. I found myself thinking, “Not again. Why her?” Then, I thought about the parents of the kids who died in the high school shooting in Florida who will never receive a call from their children again. Suddenly, tears welled up in my eyes. Thank you, life!

Life is handing you gifts every day. Are you saying thank you?

Imagine if you gave someone a gift, and she complains about it. Wouldn’t you consider that rude? Yet, that’s what a lot of people are doing with life. Every day, we wake up and experience so many things to be grateful for. Yet, in a society that’s constantly wanting “more” from a state of “not enough,” we fail to see all the things we already have. I want you to take a moment and imagine how you’d feel if you really stopped to notice the little treasures in your daily life that you’ve been overlooking. In fact, do it right now. Just look around you and notice all that you do have. Do you feel that shift? I’ll tell you how I feel when I say “thank you” to life on a regular basis: I fall in love with my life as it is right now. And, do you know what I’ve discovered?

The more you love life, the more it loves you back. {click to tweet}

The reason why my life feels like a grand romance is because of one thing:

I’m often asked how I got to where I am today. There are many things I could share with you, but, at the core its because… I stopped acting like a spoiled brat. I made how I feel today my #1 priority, and gratitude is one of my favorite practices to shift my state of being in a skinny minute. I stopped complaining, blaming and waiting. I quit the whole “my life will be better one day when” attitude and started appreciating the life I have. If you feel like you’ve been behaving like a spoiled adult, you’re not alone. We all have. Please don’t beat yourself up. That’s just a different flavor of the same problem. Instead, I want to challenge you to turn it around. You ready?

Your 7 Day “Thank You” Challenge (a.k.a The Daily Practice that changed my life).

I have a friend who is grateful for everything. I could give her a single sock, and she’d gush for hours. She’s lovely to be around because, in her presence, I feel like that kid again who realized how much there is to be grateful for. Years ago, she inspired me to start a “thank you” practice where I say thank you to the simplest of moments. Sometimes, I say it out loud. Sometimes, it’s an internal prayer. But, what I know is that my life has changed dramatically because of this practice. Do you want to change your life, too?

I challenge you to try the 7 day “Thank You” Challenge. {click to tweet}

Here are some ways I have practiced this in my own life: I’ve learned to say thank you for things that I used to overlook (or complain about). Here are some examples: “Thank you” for the everyday miracles that I once took for granted: Food on my table. A sunrise and sunset. Waking up and taking a breath. The beautiful trees outside my bedroom window. The ability to see, smell, feel, hear and taste. My body that allows me to experience life. Running water that allows me to take a warm shower. “Thank you” for the things I wanted and now have: My daughter. A man I adore. My dogs. A fabulous team. My computer. My business. Loving parents. A home. “Thank you” for the things I get to experience: Hikes on a spring day. Cooking dinner. Writing about things I’m passionate about. Meeting up with friends. Loving others. Travel. “Thank you” for things that I used to complain about: Washing the dishes: I am so grateful that I have these gorgeous dishes to wash. Folding the laundry: Doesn’t this basket of clean laundry that I get to fold smell absolutely amazing? Taking out the trash: How lucky am I that the trash man comes all the way to my house to pick up our garbage every week. Paying the bills: I love the sense of responsibility that paying bills on time gives me. And I know deep in my heart that money flows in and out of my life when I’m living in a state of gratitude. Cleaning up dog poop: My dog gives me so much joy. I know that if the roles were reversed he’d totally do this for me! My Body: I love every unique part of my body – as it makes me uniquely ME – and without it, I wouldn’t be who I am, and I love me! My body allows me to walk, run & dance. It carries me through this experience of life. I thank it all day every day. This attitude of “thank you” doesn’t just stop with what I presently have or experience. Just like blessing my meal before eating, I like to bless my future with gratitude. “Thank you” ahead of time for things I’ve yet to experience but am excited for: Creating more in-person experiences for the French Kiss Life community. My daughter’s improving health. More belly laugh connection with friends. More travel to exotic lands. Publishing a book.

When we give thanks rather than complain, our life starts to feel like a grand romance.

Here’s what I believe: It’s human nature to want more, and I think it’s a beautiful thing. But, if you can’t appreciate what you already have, why do you deserve more? Wanting from a place of abundance and joy is a different experience. And, a woman in love is a magical creature, don’t you think? Lucky for us, there’s always something to be thankful for. This is what French Kissing Life is all about.
  JOIN THE CHIC CONVERSATION: Let’s start your 7 Day “Thank you” challenge right now! Look around where you are in this moment. Share in the comments something you want to say “thank you” for.

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