There is a need/a compulsion you feel all the time. There’s a feeling that getting more salary, a bigger car, a prettier girl/guy would help me be complete and contribute to a sense of peace within me. And honestly, that’s where the trouble is! If we truly see how ‘Gratitude’ helps us from within, we would have a better perspective on life.
The problem is we are constantly seeking something further than what we have. If what you have isn’t satisfactory enough; working towards what you don’t have would be a painful journey. And living this life painfully is not what you signed up for; let me make this post a thought experiment and show you how 😛
Thought Experiment: How gratitude helps us feel complete?
1- Ask yourself: What do you really want?
Sometimes we aspire and dream for the world, but what most people really want is to be close to their loved ones. Mostly it is the love and happiness they seek, and they would do anything to be close to these two emotions. Since it is an emotion, it is basically a reaction to external situations.
You can further read my post – 3 ways to build a healthy relationship with your mind for strengthening your self-awareness.
Here’s a small exercise you can do:
i) Make a list of things you aspire in your life.
The list could be your material, personal, family, or even spiritual goals. Or they could be different lists altogether. Now figure out what you aspire in life and write them down.
ii) Add happiness points next to it.
Now on the list or the goals you have written, note how happy do you feel when you imagine yourself being successful in that very goal. Rate yourself from 0 to 5 points.
iii) Prioritize your list
Now that you have all the data; re-write your list as per the happiness score.
You would note that most of your goals are oriented around your loved ones, directly or indirectly wishing to give them the finest of everything in the world. But more often than not, what they need to know is that you care for them, even just by a minor gesture. Appreciating and being grateful for their presence in your life would drive you to be more content. Hence, moving this act on the top of your aspiration list.
2- Ask yourself: Do I have enough?
We go through several thoughts and emotions making us feel rather incomplete; the belief that either we lack something or we need something more to be complete is a never-ending deep well. However, it would be refreshing for once to turn that page and look at what we already have is more than enough. This would evoke a sense of gratitude within leading you to be content in life. The more you reflect on this, the more love and gratitude you feel within, and this is what you always wanted, right?
Here’s another small exercise to let you see it through:
i) Make a list of people from your life skilled at complaining/arguing.
There are definitely a few people who would come to your mind who are always complaining. Just write them down for now.
ii) Make a list of people from your life who are mostly joyous and enthusiastic.
Chances are that these people make you feel good about yourself too. Just write a couple of names.
iii) Whose company do you enjoy more?
I am sure that it would be from the second list of joyous people. Now if you reverse-engineer their traits, you would realize that they are happy because they are content within; in short, they are grateful for what they already have. Not that they don’t aspire for more, they do! And it is human to aspire. It’s just that they would rather be glad they could dance in the rain than complain about it.
If you enjoy the people who are joyous and grateful, chances are you would enjoy your own company in that very state of mind. Think over it!
3- Remind yourself: Be Grateful How ‘Gratitude’ helps us
When you keep reflecting more on what you have than what you lack, you would eventually feel a little volcano of joy bursting within you. It may sound like a daunting task initially, and in fact, the little voice in your head would discourage you too. But always know that you are blessed to have food, shelter, clothes on your body, and a fully functioning body and mind. Things could have been worse, trust me.
Always know that you are truly blessed in every aspect of life. And in case you forget, be grateful.