Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Ken's Blogs, Speak your authentic truth


Do you ever stop and ask yourself what you’re grateful for? Do you take the time to show gratitude?

I heard a great story a few weeks ago. A colleague of mine was listening to someone that kept going on and on about what was wrong with their life. Their job sucked, their car was breaking down, they had no money, they were complaining about the service at the local restaurant, the stories just kept coming. My colleague looked up and politely asked the person “what are you grateful for?” Well, that was quite the conversation stopper. If you’re the one doing the complaining, a question likes that stops you dead in your tracks. You can’t just keep complaining once that thought has crossed your mind.

We all have some of the same stories going on in our life. Maybe our health isn’t great, maybe our finances aren’t great, maybe we’ve just had a fight with a friend or a spouse. As a friend of mine has said repeatedly and I mentioned in a previous blog, “we all have our own sh++ show”. It’s true, and it’s frustrating when these things are happening to us, when life is “giving us lemons”. Well as the saying goes, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Or I like the other saying better, “when life gives you lemons, find someone whose life gives them tequila and have a party.”

So when these things are happening in your life and it starts to feel like you’re the victim, what if you were to stop and ask yourself “what am I grateful for?” Your mindset has to shift. The problems you were thinking of all of a sudden don’t seem so overwhelming. If you’ve tried this yourself before, you’re probably nodding as you read this. And if you’ve never tried it, why not make a mental note to try it next time. One of the things that I have made part of my nightly practice is to go through a gratitude list every night as I meditate before bed. Each night, I look back on the day and offer gratitude for whatever occurred during that day.

What are you grateful for?

I visited my massage therapist this afternoon and it was absolutely wonderful. My muscles have been very stiff of late and her ability to massage out some of the knots and increase the blood flow to the muscles left me feeling significantly better than at the start of the appointment. Once she was finished, I made sure I told her how much I appreciated her attention to detail and how well she understands the body and works with the patient. She thanked me for the feedback and commented that it’s quite uncommon for people to take the time to provide any feedback at all. She assumes she must be doing a good job because the people keep coming back, but she rarely receives much feedback. Really?

This got me thinking about the expression of gratitude in general. I know that when someone shows gratitude to me for something that I have done, it definitely brings a smile to my face and it even makes me want to do a better job for that person next time. I feel uplifted and take a sense of pride for helping that person at that point in time. When I do a simple act such as holding the door open for someone and they politely say “thank you”, that’s all it takes. That makes me feel appreciated and glad that I took the time to hold the door.

How do you feel when someone shows gratitude toward you?

But I also started thinking that there are a lot of situations where there is an opportunity to express gratitude, and that opportunity gets missed. And once it’s missed, it’s gone forever. In the similar situation where I hold the door open for someone, and they come through without so much as even a nod or a smile, I don’t come away with the same feeling. I take the time to tell myself that I still did a good deed, but I’m left wondering why it’s so hard for some people to show any kind of appreciation at all. Note to self, don’t ever be this person!

In response to last week’s blog a reader commented that there’s a lot of attention being given to the phrase “random acts of kindness” and I love it. It’s just a little reminder to us all to stop and do a good deed every once in a while, to “pay it forward” if you will. And it seems to me that the person practicing the random act of kindness virtually always comes away with a smile on their face.

The reader’s follow-up comment suggested the idea of taking the next step to move from “random acts of kindness” into “intentional acts of kindness”. Or how about “intentional acts of gratitude?” What if every time someone did something for you that you were grateful for, you took the time to express your gratitude? And if you miss an opportunity for a brief second, you actually turn around and go back to show your appreciation. Would you set that intention for yourself?

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward

If you’d like to share an interesting gratitude story, send it along to [email protected].

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Written by Ken

Ken Jaques describes himself as a Health Care Evolutionary, Community Builder, and Speaker. True healing begins when we treat root causes instead of just masking symptoms. Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in 2008, Ken has experienced many facets of the health care system. As “the only patient who ever lost their hair on this low of a dosage of chemotherapy” – as spoken by his rheumatologist – Ken has been on an amazing journal of self-discovery, a journey of true healing. In his blog, Ken shares stories of how his beliefs have changed over the past few years, and how they are still changing. Is it possible that our bodies can heal themselves? Do we really have to live without hope after we receive a chronic illness diagnosis? These are the types of questions that Ken encourages people to ask themselves as they embark on their own physical or emotional healing journey.

Ken is creating a platform to connect People, Patients, Practitioners, Partners and Promoters, enabling a collaborative effort to help shift the focus on health from I-llness to We-llness. Check out the pilot at

“When ‘I’ is replaced with ‘we’, even I-llness becomes WE-llness” ~ Malcolm X


  1. Hi Ken,

    Love it. I have on occasion used the “gratitude journal” as a way to refocus my children when they start to sound entitled and or hard done by. I give the their notebooks and ask them to START each day itemizing three things for which they are grateful. When they are young the list can be pretty simple — and compelling. I’m grateful for my family. I’m grateful for my dog. I’m grateful for pancakes.

    When we were kids our punishment would have been…write the line 100 times: I am lucky to have food to eat; I am lucky to have food to eat; I am lucky to have food to eat…

    I think of the gratitude journal as a modern day version of that…I love your blogs and I’m always glad I take the time to read them…even when they make me late for work!!

  2. Hi Ken,
    My experience is that a gratitude journal is a great way to get out of a funk of any kind. It can be as simple as listing three things at the beginning of the day – like I am grateful for the beautiful sunshine, this warm cup of tea etc and then at the end of the day – grateful for something that went well, or someone you met. Once you look at your day from a gratitude perspective it’s amazing how different things look!

    Thanks for the great posts, and keep them coming
    Teri Jaklin

  3. Great blog Ken, I loved it!

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