Finally Understanding Gratitude
When last have you taken a moment to think about the things that happen in the background that makes you who you are, and also, when was the last time you took a second to think about what allows you to do what you do? Can you think of anyone who does those little things that make your life and days a bit better to deal with? Whom are you grateful for right now? Sometimes we all have this vision of success as being this point where we, perhaps, don’t have to work so hard or worry as much anymore. We see ourselves driving the best cars, living in the best homes and maybe having family around (to make this scene a little more complete). We never know how we are going to get to this point but what we do know is that we are going to find out eventually. Sometimes most of us make the mistake of thinking that the only person that has to make all the sacrifices and go through the struggle to make our lives successful or a bit more fulfilled is just us. Where am I going with this? I mean who else should we be thankful for? I do have a feeling that I am not the only one with a somewhat subtle feeling telling me who these people are. If so, let us go on another adventure, kind reader! I do hope you enjoy it.
Don’t get me wrong now, I am not accusing any of you of anything. We all get to this point in our lives where we become so fixed on achieving everything that we wish to achieve, that this is all we think about. We go about our days trying to get through our days. Busy to such an extent that each moment is rushed on to the next and most days are ended with a cloudy and exhausted mind. All you wish to do is hit the bed hard and then on to the same routine for the next day. What a tragedy it is to willingly live a life draining our own souls, don’t you think?
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” — Anonymous
Trust me, I do have a little experience with this. We all willingly act in a manner that we know is wrong, but we excuse this behavior regardless of how it makes another feel, by believing the excuse that our behavior is excusable because of what we must accomplish. Am I the only one that felt the old gut-wrenching regret after inconsiderately reacting to another’s actions? Usually, it seemed as if this feeling was ignored, but after some time it actually built up and forced me to react to others in a somewhat negative manner. I started to think that the first time I did react in this manner served as validation — which served as validation for the next and the next… was I becoming a modern-day Macbeth? (For those of you who don’t know about Shakespeare’s Macbeth, he was a character filled with nobility and potential to be something great. But his decisions and influences led him to kill, which haunted him for the first time, but after the first time, it became easier and easier for him to kill another person in his way).
Now, I have said and will continue to say that I wish to live my life expressing myself to the fullest, and I will determinedly remain on a path pursuing my version of success. I was sure to take my time and built up the courage to take the leap and return home to all that I love and hold dear to me. I would push myself each day seeking a new limit, trying my best to do everything that I could. I was making sacrifices, no more eating out as much as I would, no time for spending quality time with quality people and most importantly never appreciating myself in the process. My realization came along when I realized that I had more influence over the people around me that I had thought. I thought myself to be the only one that suffers as I made these sacrifices. That is when I started to realize that this pursuit was one that was extremely selfish. How can I not appreciate those around me that do the little things that make my life and days just a little easier? I realized as well that I was focusing much more on trying to get the most work done in a day that I did not acknowledge those that were helping me do so. I was experiencing the ups and downs of each day, but not acknowledging those that were helping me make it a bit better. How could I not be grateful for them? That is when it clicked - I was wanting to do such amazing things, thinking that I can do all of it alone, which actually was making me miserable. I was working towards changing the world, but not realizing that the people working to make my life easier are a part of the world that I wish to change. No matter their drawbacks, they are there when I need them most!
Now how can I be real and honest with people if I cannot appreciate them? That is when those manners that were preached really started to come back and I started to appreciate those around me in ways that I never before did. What am I trying to say with all of this? No matter who you are or where you are in your life, you will interact with someone who does something out of kindness to make your day a little better. It honestly could be anybody, maybe the worker at the grocery store who always makes sure that you get what you need or maybe a friend who is always there or maybe a family member who always does for you what no other will. No matter how crazy your day’s get, those people who take a few moments just to make your day a little better, by doing the seemingly insignificant things, are the ones that usually go by unnoticed. They may never ask for anything in return, but in a weird way, they help you live your life.
My epiphany came in when I realized that I cannot change the world alone. I don’t need to change the world alone. In actual fact if each person interacts with their own fair share of people, and if people are willing to work with each other, well, then changing the world is not such a difficult thing to do, right? Don’t convince yourself that everything you wish to achieve is something that you are going to do alone. There’s someone who washes and irons your clothes, someone who brings fresh fruit and veggies to the grocery store that you visit and someone who thinks about you at random times. There will always be someone out there who would go out of their way to do something to make your life better. Now don’t get me wrong, too often we meet with those that are busy and always in a rush, sometimes we are these people. But we should never be convinced to remain one of them. We are who we choose to be. Right now, you are the result of every single one of your choices, not just a single one. So do not believe that a single decision could change your life, but rather there are many that push you in the right direction. You do not like where you are? Well, then make those small choices that could change your life in seemingly insignificant ways. “Become to others what you wish others were to you”, and soon others will be grateful for the person that you are. It is quite a fulfilling feeling to change someone’s life — try it and you will find your life changing in the process.
“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” — H.E. Luccock
Sometimes it seems that the only way to truly understand how much one does for you is to not have them there anymore. When that small and seemingly insignificant task is in your hands, you may start to appreciate the role that these kind people played. It’s odd how we sometimes get so caught up with our days that our mind imagines these ideal situations in every case and we expect these situations to become one of those ideal ones. Whenever we do get to finally facing these situations, it may not go as expected — I guess that is the uncertainty of this life, right? So do your best to be kind to others, because the things that we wish to do with our lives don’t always go as expected. Appreciate every person that you meet, be real with them and you may just add a new piece to their soul or they may do the same for you. Be a little crazy, smile at random strangers and ask them how their day is going. Some people may never enjoy talking, but when they are alone with their thoughts, they do tend to think (Trust me, I know). If you can take a moment and realize that your kindness does not need to be reciprocated, your life starts to change a little more because you no longer need kindness to be kind — live that unrequited kindness kind of life.
We meet people every day that we may never see again because the world is filled with people — just look all around you! So, take a few moments and help people who are living unfulfilled lives to believe that life is nothing more than what we make of it. You could use these short moments to create a defining moment in another’s life. Take a moment to acknowledge your power and invest in your existence so that we can change the world together…
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