A revolutionary movement to change our world by encouraging radical acts of gratitude.
Gratitude is powerful. It transforms lives. It affirms what is good and upholds what is beautiful. This is the story of how I discovered the power of gratitude and transformed my life by learning to affirm what is good and uphold what is beautiful in the lives of others. The story starts with The Adam Carolla Show and my 35th birthday.
Shortly before my birthday, I was listening to The Adam Carolla Show and he was talking about his disdain for participation trophies. Those are the trophies you get just for showing up. I realized that being given presents for my birthday was, in effect, a participation trophy. “Congratulations for showing up on Planet Earth.” I didn’t do anything to earn it. The person to whom the award should go was my mom. She was the one who worked, labored, and sweated.
A question began to float around in my mind. “When was the last time you gave your mother a present on your birthday?” The answer was, “Never.”
My mom considered me a gift, sure, but I’d never actively done anything to thank her for bringing me into this world on my birthday. So I made it my mission to write her a letter thanking her for loving me, for always making me feel loved even though I wasn’t always the easiest person to love, and to let her know that I appreciated the pain, suffering, and self-sacrifice she endured on my behalf not only on the day of my birth but also for all the years that followed.
I made a pledge to her that in the coming year I would tell her that I loved her more often and would find more ways to let her know how special she was to me and that I would make her more proud of me than ever. I shared that post on her Facebook page sometime after 4 am in the morning on my birthday in 2014. I felt so much joy writing the letter and I couldn’t wait for her to read it.
I called later that day, because I hadn’t heard from my mom, to ask my dad if she’d read it. My dad told me that she was going to need some time to digest it. She would need to get herself emotionally together before responding to it. The joy I felt writing it was increased by knowing that she felt my love from what I’d written and shared with her.
Sadly, I only got four more months to live out that pledge before I was reading my letter to her at her funeral. The breast cancer that was supposed to be in remission, that we all thought she’d conquered, took her life. I didn’t know what true loss or pain was until she died this past year. My mom taught me many things during her life, but I would soon realize that she had even more to teach me after her death.
And I am grateful for her death. It taught me that life truly is sacred. I’d always heard and agreed with that statement but until she was gone I didn’t really understand what it meant. And her death gave me a new appreciation for my dad.
On my next birthday, inspired by the results of my gratitude letter to my mom, I wrote one to my dad. I shared with him “I love you. You are my hero. I want you around forever and I’m honored to take one day at a time. I don’t deserve a friend like you but will continue to accept the gift that it is.”
I made the same pledge to him that I made to my mom: to tell him that I love him more often, to find more ways to let him know how special he is to me, and to make him prouder.
To honor my mother’s memory and to spread the joy that I’ve experienced through gratitude, I pledged to build a space where people could share what is good and uphold what is beautiful about life by sharing the things that they are grateful for socially. I wanted to add to the gratitude in the world. Today, GratitudeSpace has shared gratitude into a network of over 20,000,000 and will hit 100,000,000 by the end of 2017!
What I have learned is that gratitude is a powerful remedy for all the negativity that we encounter in this world. Giving gratitude out brings with it a better attitude, a more generous heart, and a greater ability to connect with others. It is radical in its ability to change minds and change hearts.
I am proud of my role in having provided the opportunity, but I am even more grateful for the people who participate in making it a reality!
Contact me at hello@GratitudeSpace.com