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How to Express Gratitude: The Truth

What are grateful for?

When you hear this question, how often have you answered with something like your job, your significant other, an opportunity someone gave you, etc.? I have realized that having certain things and supportive people in your life are blessings, but the real blessing begins with knowing your value. How do you express gratitude? Towards yourself first; that’s the real source of joy and fulfillment.

Gratitude improves your brain and body function by helping you feel and think more positively. Gratitude reduces stress, anxiety, depression, pain, and sorrow and improves your overall satisfaction with life. Gratitude enhances self-esteem, optimizing performance and productivity on a day-to-day basis. It is possible to reverse the notion of gratitude and spotlight you on this journey of self-discovery. According to every life coach I’ve come across, ‘Unless you fill yourself up first, you have nothing to give others.’ I am currently working on learning to appreciate myself more.


Months ago, I decided to let go of my security blanket to take a chance on myself. I quit my job to pursue my true passion as personal branding and portrait photographer full-time. It was exciting and freeing after having lived the 9-5 life for so long. However, I made the decision five years ago and set myself on a path similar to climbing Everest. You see, I was a data geek. I had a specific mindset and structure for 30 years and set out to do the complete opposite. I had to deconstruct and rebuild parts of myself–the parts that were stubborn and clung to life. The data geek is still around, but the closed-off, blending-into-the-walls version of me is dead.

Imagine having gone through all that and never acknowledging the work, the struggle, the pain. So, self-gratitude was important to me during that time and in the future. Finding gratitude within ourselves is self-care. Today, I list things I am grateful for—not something someone else did or said, something about myself that made me thankful.

Let’s change how we express gratitude. This month list the things you tried this year–list everything, what failed, and what worked. Then look at it and take a bow, girl. YOU did it. Be grateful for YOU.

Angela Atelier is a New Jersey-based portrait and personal branding photography studio empowering women everywhere to live their best life. Contact us to schedule your complimentary consultation.

New Jersey Branding Photographer

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