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GRATITUDE FOR THOSE WHO'VE HELPED ALONG THE WAY
Adapted from the works of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

''If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.''
- Isaac Newton

In Chapter 12 of End the Struggle and Dance With Life, ''Wake Up To the Abundance,'' Susan asks us to cultivate a life of gratitude. As the quote by Brother David Steindl-Rast at the opening of the chapter says, ''In daily life, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.''

We feel more connected when we think about all the people whose shoulders we stand on. While we may not be Isaac Newton, making world-changing discoveries, we can create a more meaningful life by understanding that where we are today could only have happened by the support of others. Each of us has so many people to appreciate who have been before us or who work ''behind the scenes'' to make our lives abundant. We use the understanding and loving guidance of others to elevate ourselves, improve and expand. We all owe more than we realize to a very long list of others.

There were your parents and grandparents who changed your diapers, fed you, and comforted you. There were teachers who took the time to help you with your multiplication tables, praised your small victories, and supported your ambitions. Friends and colleagues have probably helped you along the way - giving advice, encouraging you. If you look back at your life, you will find that there were and are multitudes of people who helped you along the way. These are the people who made you feel comfortable in your own skin and whose love and encouragement helped sustain you and define you. The question isn't, ''Who is there to be grateful for?'' The question is, ''How could I not be grateful to those who have helped me along my way?''

The idea of a self-made man or woman is a myth. No one gets to where they are on their own initiative. Sure, initiative helps a lot, but no one makes decisions in a void. Early in his life, Warren Buffett, one of the wealthiest men in the world, showed a flare for entrepreneurialism. He worked hard to earn his billions. Yet even now, when speaking about his rise to wealth, he credits the practicality of his parents and the influence of educators and mentors for his business acumen. He's grateful to those upon whose shoulders he has stood.

We've all been in a place where we feel alone. When we feel that no one has helped us, when no one can. When we feel that we do everything by ourselves. It is at these times that we need to step out of our own heads, observing our life rather than living it. When we do, we find that we are surrounded by people supporting us - holding us up - everyday. There is that friend who called to check on you. Or the barrista who remembers your coffee order. The colleague who pitched in to help you finish a big project. A relative who texted to take you to lunch. If we look, we can always find dozens of people upon whose shoulders we are standing, who want to be there for us, who want us to succeed.

As Susan wrote, ''You really begin to stand tall when you realize how many shoulders you are standing on; you also feel richer in spirit. And just as importantly, you are less of a burden and more of a giant as you acknowledge the contribution that others make to your life.''

Spend some time today to remember those who have come before you and have paved your path or helped you along your journey. The list will be long and full of love. Be sure to honor those very special people with acknowledgement, appreciation and thanks.

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