Yaayy! Today I will be shining light on the virtue of gratitude and the blessings therein!
I know it is possible we have associated gratitude with the most often not deeply meant or felt responses we give to hackneyed phrases such as “just be thankful,” “count your blessings,” “give thanks always,” and so forth. Even while growing up, we learnt to say “Thank you” not really out of genuine gratitude but out of politeness and social propriety. If we didn’t say it, we were scolded for being badly behaved. In other words, saying thank you was a matter of decorum and discipline. What about being truly thankful on the inside?
Gratitude is a virtue we all should cultivate not out of plain politeness or because we are being guilt-tripped into it but because it is actually very good, rewarding and beneficial to develop a habit of thankfulness. Your life doesn’t have to be perfect before you can practice gratitude.
In our fast-paced and stressed-out society, it is easy to forget to slow down and appreciate the little things of life we have and enjoy. Realities of the present even make it more difficult to remember to be thankful, e.g. loss of a loved one, a breakup, problems at work or home, debt, etc. But we can always find something to be thankful about even in the midst of turmoil. Please note, however, that gratitude is NOT to be used as a tool to emotionally bypass experiencing the pain of what is happening to us in the present. It is important to be present with our emotions and strive to resolve them positively instead of being so quick to plaster our anger, disappointment or depression with the ‘gratitude band-aid’. There is a time for everything. If you should grieve, grieve. And when it is time to rejoice, do not hold back, too.
That said, I should repeat that your life doesn’t have to be perfect for you to be grateful. Perfection is a concept created by the mind and the mind will always yearn for more. Waiting to have everything in order before you practice gratitude will have you waiting for a very long time. Being grateful in the present will help you find joy and peace in the midst of messy situations. Making a conscious effort to be grateful always will give you the gift of contentment and fill your heart with hope and gladness, saving you from the endless chasing of happiness which only leads to more unhappiness. Through the lens of gratitude, you will see that everything is fine just as it is—and that is wisdom because we only have the now to be at peace. This moment of NOW is all we have. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is yet to come, all we have to experience and enjoy is today, now, the present.
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We often forget that the PAST and FUTURE cannot bring us happiness. They simply do not exist in the PRESENT moment. Anchoring us to the present moment so we can truly live it is the most precious gift Gratitude affords us. It is one of the powerful tools that help us experience the joy we always long for, the joy that only exists in the present.
Also, it has been proven that practicing gratitude has the following benefits:
Makes you more content and less materialistic
Improves happiness and long term well-being
Increases empathy and ability to care about other people
Helps lower physical and psychological stress
Promotes better sleep
Helps in having more fulfilling relationships
Would you adopt a lifestyle of gratitude today? I have and it has made me a better individual. I’ve got a dated gratitude e-journal where I write in what I am grateful for each day. If you’d like that too, you can get any of these journaling apps on Google Play store or just get a notebook if you prefer to write with a pen instead. Feel free to share your thoughts about gratitude in the comments section below.
This article was written by Opeyemi Babafemi
Check her blog: blogofpam.com