There are many things that come to my mind love, kindness, compassion, family, spouse, compatibility but if there has to be one thing,one mantra that I truly believe can be life changing, it is GRATITUDE. Gratitude has been defined as the quality of being thankful, an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has. It has three key elements, acknowledgement, appreciation and thankfulness for what you have.
With everyone’s current obsession with social media, we are constantly bombarded with news and images of how perfect and happy and happening others’ lives are. You go on Instagram and all you see are pictures of friends traveling , celebrating special occasions, gushing about their children and spouses. While that is great, but does it leave an after taste in our hearts that why do we not have enough. Despite having it good in our lives, we start wondering why are we not going for exotic vacations or pursuing challenging careers or doing sky diving or skiing and the list goes on.
In today’s materialistic world, there is so much that we have and yet much more that we don’t have. If we travel twice a year, others are traveling thrice. If we celebrate Christmas with a party at home, others are flying to London for it. Countless times I have heard friends complaining about how others’ lives seem so exciting and fun, while they lead dull and routine lives.
Similarly for relationships there is always more that the heart desires. If we have a loving, supportive husband yet he is not outgoing and adventurous we have a complaint with that. If our in laws are loving and kind, they may not be modern or smart enough. Our kids and husbands should be smart, funny, loving , the entire works for us to present a glossy family portrait. No one wants to show their real lives, just an ideal and fantastic version of it. And this in turn, sows the seeds of discontent and the feeling of not having enough in most other peoples’ minds.
“Kisiko mukamal jahan nahin milta” is a fact that our previous generations fully understood and accepted and they were mostly satisfied with their lives.There was contentment in their lives, and pleasure was derived from simple things.They were happy with their simple family life, occasional outings and modest purchases.
But our generation has seen a complete change in psychology. We have been lucky that we have had more than enough, which is gradually shifting to the mindset that that nothing is ever enough. We forget and undermine all that we have, taking it for granted.
While striving for perfection and ambition are great motivators, and we genuinely need them to keep us going forward and setting higher standards for ourselves. Still all of us need to cultivate acknowledgement and appreciation for all that we have in our hearts.
The magical thought and emotion that can truly transform our lives is Gratitude. Just be appreciative and thankful for what you have. All of us have a lot without any doubt. If we are sitting here reading articles on our laptop or iPads or smart phones, on our sofas or recliners we have nothing to complain about in material terms. We all have some goodness in our family and personal lives even if not all.Everything might not be perfect, but surely all of us have some people who bring love, laughter and light in our lives. So let’s concentrate on all the positives. I have learnt this from my husband and I’m trying to imbibe this quality gradually. He never complains about anything, he just will not complain about the things in life that will leave most of us dissatisfied or resentful. Initially a few times it even made me think that he is just not bothered, but the truth is he chooses not to get bothered by the small stuff. He views life in a macro sense, that it’s all good so why sweat the things that don’t matter in the long run. If he is bothered by something that I did or did not do, he will just think to himself that she does so many things, she might have forgotten or not known that this has to be done. Most people, on the other hand, me included would get irritated that why would you not do this one small thing, is it not important, you take my things for granted etc.
Just think if all of us can learn to take a step back, and see our lives and relationships in a macro sense, we really will not find that much to complain about. When I step back, and think of my life and relationships in totality, the small irritations start to recede.
How we can develop an attitude of gratitude is a whole new topic, for another article, but I will like to suggest one small thing that I have been practicing. Every morning and night, just think of five things you are grateful for, big or small, meaningful or silly and take a deep breath. With each passing day, you’ll see that these two minutes will bring a smile to your face which will keep you going through the day. Throughout the day, you’ll get reminded of those five things, and the day won’t seem so bad after all. Please share your thoughts and experiences.