Monday, November 19, 2012

How Are Your Fears Getting in the way of Gratitude?


Recently, at dinner our kids started discussing Christmas, gifts, what they needed,wanted and had to have. This eventually led to a disagreement on whether it was an 'electronics' night (whey they can use the iPad) or not. We were quietly trying to enjoy our dinner, but their minds were cluttered with STUFF. More specifically, they were worried that they didn't have enough "STUFF." 

Human fears can basically be summed up as either fears that center around "attack" ( I am in danger of being hurt, someone is out to get me, everyone hates me, etc.) or "lack" (I don't have enough... love, money, time, food,friends, toys, you name it!). When we come from a place of LACK we focus on scarcity and then we have a hard time noticing what we do have. As a result we don't connect as much with gratitude or abundance. We are left feeling like we need more - more stuff!

So how do we, as individuals and parents, deal with the lack fears so we can shift our focus (and help our children shift theirs) to gratitude and abundance?

One way to focus on gratitude and abundance is to realize that for every story we tell ourselves about what is missing in our lives (be it a relationship, the newest Lego Star Wars toy, or an iPhone27) there is an alternate story we can tell that shows us what we have.  In my family, we do this by playing a little game I call "First World Problem."

When I first told my kids about this lesson disguised as a game that I had made up, I explained to them the difference between a first world country and a third world country and gave some examples of what people often go without in third world countries that we take for granted in first world countries (running water, food, electricity, clean clothes, transportation etc.). Then each person comes up with a silly scenario that would be considered a "First World Problem." An example of a scenario we often giggle about is "I ordered a tall, nonfat, no whip mocha, but they put whipped cream on it - I am SO mad!" You guessed it - first world problem!  Now that we have been doing this for a while they have started to notice first world problems popping up all over the place. When I complain about the car being stinky because someone spilled their drink, they are quick to chime in with "first world problem." Likewise, I am happy to point out that their tantrum over what kind of candy they get to bring in their lunch is, once again, a first world problem.

This isn't about feeling guilty for having more than some people. Guilt is a useless emotion that often keeps us stuck rather than inspiring us to make changes! No, this is about GRATITUDE and noticing the things or people that you may take for granted. It is about ABUNDANCE, which means not just noticing what you have, but being a more generous and giving human being.

These next few weeks I invite you to notice when first world problems get you down. Make a game of it like we do. It's OK to smile and laugh at yourself. Laughter is good medicine. Ask yourself what role gratitude and abundance play in your life and your overall happiness. Be aware of those "lack" fears that pop up and lament you don't have enough. Above all, ask questions and then listen for the answers.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at MyMindset.

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Hannah Hollett is co-owner of, a MyMindset Coach, teacher and parenting, life and business coach. She can be reached for question, comments or a complimentary personal coaching consultation at  

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