My new favorite thing to do these days is to listen to podcasts while walking. A few days ago I caught an episode about gratitude and how it’s an important attitude to have to grow spiritually. I took some time to contemplate what I am grateful for in my life.
All I could feel was immense gratitude for everything/everyone who has been a part of my life thus far. Some memories were very pleasant and some which were not so pleasant. But in retrospect, I’m grateful for each of those experiences. I do not want to bore you with the long list right now. I will mention one that I feel most thankful for. I am very grateful for all the knowledge that I have been able to gain over the years, to develop the attitude of thankfulness even when things don’t go the way I desire. This attitude by itself has largely changed me as a person. I am still not at a place where I can practice gratitude in every moment but I hope to get there someday.
At times, it is difficult to be grateful when people or situations hurt us. But when we understand that these are the experiences that teach us a lot about ourselves, we learn to observe how we perceive/react to these situations and grow exponentially. A lot of times, there is also an urge to be transactional with what we give. In other words, we tend to react in the way we perceive others have reacted and this, in turn, makes others react to our reactions. And this goes on and on where we keep reacting to each other instead of being our true selves.
I believe having the attitude of being grateful helps us break this cycle and be more conscious of how we react to situations or people. It’s a powerful thought when we believe that we have total control of how we want to be. Nothing seems impossible anymore. No one can take that away from us.
The amount of happiness we get when we give with a sense of gratitude is so much more than when we give because we feel that the other person has been nice to us or we will receive something back from that other person when we give. In the latter cases, there are expectations and desires involved. In the former case, we are just grateful for having the opportunity to give with no strings attached.
Some of the many things that I am grateful for every day are: to be alive, to experience this life, to be able to go out and breathe fresh air whenever I want, to have the freedom to be whatever I choose to be, to have people in my life supporting me in their way, to have my dog who teaches me a lot of things, to the plants which give me so much pleasure just by being. I hope to continue practicing being grateful for all these and everything else in my life for all the days to come.