Quite Continental Charm School: Day 1 – An Attitude of Gratitude

01/02/2012 § 23 Comments

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life
Actress Grace Kelly studying script for her role of Georgie in “The Country Girl” on the movie set during break in filming.  Photo taken by Ed Clark for Life Magazine, 1954.

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies,
those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how
we experience life and the world.

-John Milton

Day 1: An Attitude of Gratitude
I took me awhile, but I eventually decided to start off this month-long project with a very small recommendation.  This tip won’t cost you any money, it can be gotten anywhere, and I have found it brings an immediate feeling of fabulosity to my own life, once added.  Yet, as easy as it is to achieve, it is something that has to be rigorously tended, or else it will wither and die.  What I am speaking of is an attitude of gratitude.

From the beginning, most of us are on a path paved with competition: siblings, classmates, teammates, tournaments, grades, entrance exams, university acceptances, job applications, finding a partner, popularity contests, and the like.  The list of things you can use to compare yourself to others grows by the second.  You know what it sounds like…  That girl on the train is thinner than you are.  That well-dressed gentleman is sporting a wedding band, a full head of hair and the most amazing watch you’ve ever seen.  Congrats on getting that job, but you haven’t yet managed to find Mr. Right?  Mazel on your marriage, but did I hear you’re still renting that “cozy” apartment in Queens?  You’re looking amazing — it’s probably a good thing you don’t have any kids to mess up that diet!

When it feels like the world is hyper-focused on what you haven’t got, it’s easy to lose sight of the blessings you do have.  Our “thank yous” become perfunctory at best.  But I have found that when I take a moment to truly concentrate on all the things I am grateful for, large or small, I experience an immediate lift in my spirits.  I immediately feel better about myself and my day because I have so much to be thankful for, and a charmed life is a positive life, indeed.

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude can take many forms.  Perhaps you take a moment when you wake up to think about one thing or one person from the previous day that you are thankful for.  Perhaps you make a more concerted effort to earnestly thank people when they help you.  Perhaps you write thank you notes for good deeds done to you in the past, letting the do-gooder know how their kindness has stayed with you all this time.  Perhaps you challenge yourself to write a list of ten things you are grateful for every single evening before you go to bed.

However you choose to manifest it, I believe an attitude of gratitude is the best first step towards creating a charmed life — because you must remember that this project is not about filling in the places where you are lacking, it’s about shining a light on the fabulousness you already are — and while this is a small shift in perspective, do remember this is something you have to work at to reap the benefits.

To get you started, a few things I am grateful for — and if you’d like to leave yours in the comments below, I’d be honored!

  • My good health and strength
  • Dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt
  • The abundance of PBS documentaries
  • My ability to fall asleep moments after my head hits the pillow
  • The little handmade cards that my mother sends me in the mail, which usually only have “Mom” as the return address
  • Good kisses
  • Sam Cooke’s voice

But most of all, I’m thankful to spend this month with you!

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life

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§ 23 Responses to Quite Continental Charm School: Day 1 – An Attitude of Gratitude

  • Thank you for this reminder. I am quite blessed indeed.

    People who let me know when they’re thinking of me

    A strange & exciting job

    The financial ability & flexibility to travel

    Letter openers

    Ditto to Sam Cooke’s voice

    • Such lovely thoughts — and you made me smile when you mentioned letter openers! Good one! I use one every single day and I must admit that you were the first person to every make me actually think about it! Thank you!

  • […] good post from Quite Continental on the importance of being grateful. If you are focusing on what you […]

  • James Wilentz says:

    where do you dig up such fab pictures? I am grateful for that.

  • lilly says:

    Things I’m grateful for: an open future full of possibilty, and the chance of cultivating what I’d like to do. That’s a nice way of saying I’ve no idea what to do after university – and a reminder to myself that I may not have a plan but I have options.

    Also, a boyfriend who brings me dinner pancakes in bed.

    • Such a great outlook Lilly. The world is your oyster! I’m excited just thinking of all the options available to you. And also excited about the pancakes — what a lucky girl you are, indeed.

  • lizzy says:

    i feel like my life is one enormous & endless thank you note…but i mustn’t forget to name each blessing in a world that is too often about subtraction.

    today i’m thankful for:

    homemade yogurt.
    the poetry of hafiz.
    the strength in my limbs.
    passport stamps.

  • Posts like these are why I’m a (mostly lurking) reader of QC.

    I am grateful for, in no particular order:

    1) soundness of mind and strength of limbs
    2) the vast and wonderful world languages and literature
    3) the ability and opportunity to meld my faith and love of singing – ‘qui bene cantat, bis orat’
    4) the means to eat three square meals a day, or more
    5) the opportunity to watch (finally!) Haëndel’s Messiah live
    6) kittens. ragdoll kittens.

  • Veronika says:

    Really great post, and something I’ve been working on recently.

    I find people who are grateful are really wonderful to be around, I want to be one of those people.

  • Amy says:

    I’m a little late to this project, but I’m so glad that I,ve discovered it ! So thankful for the endless inspiration of the Internet and more specifically to you for sharing this idea.

  • SamuraiRenee says:

    I am thankful to you, Ms K for sharing this wonderful blog, and to my friend Midori who shares her internet savviness with me. For without Midori I would never have read this blog and many others just like it and from which I am learning so very much about myself and the world at large.
    Love life; love my friends.

  • […] Thank you for the wonderful reminder to be grateful for everything, Quite Continental! […]

  • Lilium_inter_spinas says:

    I just found your blog and fell in love with it!
    It’s strange that we have to be reminded to be grateful and even more strange to find this in a moment that i needed it.
    I’m grateful for:
    my girlfriend’s smile and strength when everything seems to fall apart
    strolling on a sunny warm morning
    go to sleep in a freshly made bed
    the excitement of starting a new sketchbook
    a loving fathers’ advice
    remebering moments through the embrace of music.

    Thank you

  • fox courage says:

    This is so wonderful! I am starting charm school today 🙂

    I am grateful for:

    living in a city that can be both quiet and raucous
    the sweetest, most patient partner anyone could imagine
    the life and health of my rescue kitty
    fresh starts to every day
    a circle of loving friends
    ripe avocados with sea salt
    rhinestone barrettes
    reminders like these that life is beautiful

  • Melissa says:

    This is a classic post. I am grateful for my family and friends, my health, and for having a partner who always comes correct. I’m grateful for coffee, eliptical trainers and fresh smoothies.

  • […] Day 1: Have An Attitude of Gratitude.  Mariah suggests this is perhaps the first step to leading a charmed life, “it’s not about filling the places where you are lacking, it’s about shining a light on the fabulousnessyou already are – and while this is a small shift in perspective, do remember this is something you have to work at to reap the benefits.”  What are you grateful for today? […]

  • Sharon says:

    I read a lovely quote on gratitude, something along the lines of “even if we don’t always have the entire loaf of bread, there are more than enough breadcrumbs to fill our days with joy – if we just have the eyes to see them”… have loved that idea since. My own journal contains “The Daily Crumb”: a short list of the small things that brighten my days and my life – these things are so often overlooked, but seeing them opens our eyes to the richness that is ours… thank you for this inspiring post, and reminder.

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