We have all come into contact with this emotion. No matter where you are in life for good or for ill, you've felt its gentle touch. It arrives when we least expect it to and it fills us with a seemingly infinite sense of hope. At least for a moment, but then it flees from us nearly as quickly as it comes. This emotion is Gratitude and it is central to living a healthy, well-balanced and fulfilled life.
This feeling of happiness that comes from our appreciation might seem fleeting, but does it have to be?
The answer simply is no.
Gratitude is far more than an emotion we feel when someone does something kind for us. It is far more than a mood that we experience when life goes the way we want it to. Gratitude at its very core is an attitude.
An attitude of gratitude is a way of approaching life with the aim of providing a more fulfilling experience. To put it bluntly, your life and the experiences that you encounter are miraculous. You are indeed a miracle. No one will ever experience life in the same fashion as you, and as such, every moment from good to bad begs to be cherished, because you are alive.
I can appreciate that it is often difficult to see the bright, or sunny side of the traumatic, frustrating, or tremendously painful moments in life. These moments are very real and they require healing to process them appropriately. But these moments do not define us, nor do they constitute the whole of our existence. In fact, these lower vibrational or negative events help us punctuate the great experiences of joy, laughter, satisfaction, and love.
I don't claim to have the answer. What I do know is that a large portion of our propensity to accept a life of despair is due in no small part to our inability to express gratitude. Our society, particularly western society in the United States is entitled, there really isn't another way to put it. We have adopted a mental attitude that we are owed. However, I am not entirely sure that many of us even know what it is that we are owed.
I believed for many years that my life was not good enough. I believed that the world had not done me the favors that I deserved. I didn't have the bright red sports car nor the garage attached to the mansion to park it in. I didn't have the appropriate number of zeros on my paycheck. I certainly didn't have the fame or recognition that I KNEW I deserved. My problem was, I was living someone else's dream, someone else's life.
It took a hard knock to the head and a metaphysical re-calibration from the universe to bring me back down to Earth. What I found when my delusions came tumbling down was that my life was already full of miracles and thousands, nay millions of instances that I should be grateful for. My problem was not so much based on a lack of thankfulness, as much as it was in mindset.
This is a problem that many of us share, wherein we mistake the momentary nature of thankfulness for what gratitude really is. Gratitude is not meant to be reactionary in nature, meaning it should not only arise when we receive gifts or good things happen to us. This emotion is meant to transform our lives from a series of unfortunate events into the billion-dollar blockbuster hit that we truly are. We are meant to live in a state of perpetual gratitude so that we may better appreciate and experience life in its fullest expression. This is a choice, it is a mental attitude that we must adopt if we truly seek a life liberated from the doldrums of suffering.
It is not an easy process to transition from a state of non-gratitude to a state where everything is perceived as a blessing, but it is not impossible.
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