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Living a life of gratitude

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Appreciation and consideration. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Glenn S. Robertson)

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --

A long time ago – at least it feels like forever ago when I was still wearing a uniform - I worked with a very eccentric chief petty officer (that’s a Navy E-7 to all you Air Force folks).

During the time we worked together, we had endless discussions on life, music and the Navy. Yet one conversation stuck with me and likely will for life.

He had a favorite saying that he would tell anyone who would listen, eliciting arguments, condescending head nods, begrudging agreement and sometimes, converts to his way of thinking.

Eventually I was one of those converts.

“The two most important words in any language are appreciation and consideration,” said Chief Petty Officer Walter S. Mishley.

It took a long time for me to get there; but eventually, I came around to what he meant.

Though I’d argue the wider point of semantics and more valuable words, he brought me around to understanding that when you make a decision, you are obligated to consider those affected by that decision.

It is entirely too easy to only take your own wishes and wants into consideration when making a decision, but there’s so much more to the equation.

Additionally, when somebody means something to you, it is so important to show you appreciate them. People can express appreciation in different ways, but regardless of how it is expressed, we should endeavor to express that appreciation.

Appreciation can certainly take different forms than appreciation of others, as well. Appreciation of your circumstances and what you have in your life is another form that, when followed, can help you live a happier life.

All of this is part of living an existence of gratitude. When you live in a spirit of appreciation and consideration, it is easier to be grateful for one’s own circumstances.

While those two words clearly and effectively cover the points, it is easier to be grateful when you express those two concepts. Gratitude is easier - being thankful is easier - when you appreciate those around you and when you consider them in all things. Thanksgiving may have already passed, but it can and should be a daily activity of being grateful for what is good in your life.