Over the last week or so, I have had the pleasure of receiving several emails of praise and appreciation from friends, family and strangers regarding things I’d doing here at NOH, in my organic bath & body company Newf Brand, and in other ventures as well. It is one of the most rewarding feelings in the world to wake up and read words of praise and happiness from someone rather than words of frustration, hate or general discontentment. And I’m rather sad to say that in the 9+ years which I have been working in various online ventures, the negativity coming in from customers and contacts has always far outweighed the positivity. At times, it even made us wonder if what we were doing was even worth it.

What is it about our human nature that is willing to unleash the fury when something goes wrong, but we won’t open our mouths when we are pleased about a purchase we made, a book we enjoyed, a company that went out of their way to help, a family member who really saved our day or anything else good going on in our lives? Oprah Winfrey once said, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” I have to fully agree with that. But so few people realize it.

In a way, it also works closely with the laws of attraction. If we’re focusing on the positive of our own actions and the good that those around us are doing, we’re going to encourage more positive, good actions into our lives. But it is all too easy to get caught up in the daily chaos of life so that we forget to praise those who deserve it when things are going well…and only contact people when we are already furious and assuming the worst about them.

Just like with children, we have got to remember to positively reinforce the desired actions of others and not only give them attention when they have done something bad. Because before we know it, the child is only doing negative things because the one time we actually talk to him is when he’s drawing on the wall with Sharpies or trying to give the cat a haircut.

So even though it’s almost June and the year is nearly half over, I’m going to make a new resolution for 2010 right now. We’ve done pretty well with keeping our resolutions for the farm this year, but I didn’t make too many personal resolutions. So I hope to find something to write or speak praise about every day. Writing reviews about companies I buy from or products I use (whether on this blog, amazon or to the companies themselves) and telling my family, friends, fellow bloggers and anyone or anything I come into contact with how much I enjoy their personality, actions, etc. Virtually anything can be a candidate to receive praise, even if it’s thanking God or Mother Nature for a beautiful sunshine-filled day.

I think I’ll even start a journal for myself, noting the people I have shown my appreciation to, the things I am grateful for in my life and perhaps also the praise I receive myself. So on particularly difficult days when nothing seems to be going right, I’ll remember that there are people out there who are always cheering me on, no matter what. Mine will be hand written in a nice notebook, but you could make a blog, a Word document or even a photo collage if you like. You can even make a family gratitude journal where each family member can write positive words about other family members, friends, events and so on. Date your entries and if you want to get really wild about it, color code them too. Green for natural events, blue for work, yellow for your family…however you want to set it up.

Have you said “thank you” to someone today? Perhaps a stranger on the street who held a door open for you or the delivery guy who showed up at your front door with highly awaited packages? Have you told your family members lately how much you love them and appreciate all that they do in your life every day? Start looking for ways to show your gratitude to others on a daily basis, and I bet you are not only going to have a more positive outlook on life soon, but also that gratitude is going to start coming back to you as well.

What am I appreciating right now? For starters, YOU! Perhaps a bit hokie, but if you weren’t sitting there reading this now, I would have absolutely no reason to go on blogging. Well maybe just to hear myself talk — but knowing that someone, somewhere is reading and hopefully taking something from this blog (even if it’s just a tad of information) makes it all worthwhile. So not only am I thankful for you but also for the gifts God has given me to write well and find my voice with this blog.

How would your first journal entry read? “Today I’m thankful for ___________________________.”