” Your life would suck a lot less if you practised gratitude a lot more” Mansfield
So your life sucks, that’s all of us, yet through it all, you can still be grateful. My 8-year-old son hit his head whilst doing a backflip in a swimming pool earlier on today. We had been stuck in a small remote town because they had run out of petrol. I thought to myself, if the town wasn’t out of petrol, my son wouldn’t have hurt himself. Then I quickly said to myself, well at least he was having fun, and so was I. We got to see this beautiful town and what it has to offer, memories that will never be erased.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel once said that history is the process of freedom realising itself. The fact that you are reading this blog means that you are richer and more educated than 99.5% of people in human history. It means you have almost immediate access to over half of all of the information and data ever created by the human race. It means you have the ability to educate yourself in an afternoon or a week on subjects people previously spent their entire lifetimes to learn.
You may be unhappy with your love life, but just a few generations ago, casual dating was impossible. Contraception was rare, and you could be disowned by your family for fooling around with the wrong person. A few generations before that, you likely never went to school with someone of the opposite gender and your parents chose who you married. In some countries and regions, you could have been killed for sleeping with or even flirting with the wrong person. That includes the US.
Your family may frustrate you, but over one-third of the world’s population has only one parent and 143 million children are growing up with no parents at all. If you’re in university or you went to university, you are part of the lucky 7% worldwide elite. You’re unlikely to ever live at a subsistence level like almost 60% of the population and you surely won’t ever be starving like almost 25% of the world population.
But you’ve heard stuff like this before, after all, it is just numbers, right? And it doesn’t actually help, right? Yeah, you’re lucky, but you still struggle with your confidence, you still feel socially anxious, you still suffer from feelings of inadequacy, you still stress about money/work/family/friends. Your love life is still a mess. Sure, you’re eating well and you have a nice TV and car and you can do long division and code in PHP, but your life isn’t exactly peachy either.
For decades, research has tied being grateful and appreciative to happiness. People who are happier tend to be more grateful and appreciative for what they have.
But what they’ve also found is that it also works the other way around: consciously practising gratitude makes one happier. It makes one appreciate what one has and helps one to remain in the present moment. Practising gratitude increases accountability which directly leads to higher self-esteem and happiness. Not to mention it makes one more pleasant to be around and creates a more magnetic personality.
Your parents may be smothering and obnoxious, but they do it because they care about you and it’s the only way they know how to show it. Be grateful you have people who love you, even if they don’t show it in the way you wish they did. Use it as an opportunity to help them, communicate with them, develop a better relationship with them.
You may be overweight, but at least you’ve enjoyed plenty of good food. It is also possible now more than ever to access the knowledge and resources needed to live a healthier lifestyle. Oddly enough, this can be an opportunity to set goals and to improve yourself.
You may be single and lonely, but at least you live in a society which accepts open communication between men and women, is liberal about dating practices, and allows widely accessible means to get out there and improve your situation.
And you may not be the person you want to be, but at least you have the self-awareness and drive to notice what you’re unhappy with and the desire to do something about it. You are part of the first generation in human history that has truly discovered that we are always capable of improving our lives — socially, emotionally, professionally and financially. In the past, people assumed if they were born into it, they were screwed.Gratitude is the skill of happiness and it’s the cure. Tweet Me
You’ve been blessed. Even if you rarely realise it. All of us here have.
And you’ll keep forgetting this unless you remind yourself. Remind yourself regularly. Choose to be grateful. Remember how it could be worse because it could always be worse. This isn’t to say one must ignore what’s wrong or broken with the world. I’m the last one to pretend everything is unicorns and rainbows. It’s just to say that when things seem to hit the fan, don’t forget what’s good, true and beautiful. Remember to shut up and be grateful.
Gratitude is the skill of happiness it’s the cure. And it is indeed a skill. It requires practice and effort and habit. But it’s a skill anyone can learn and anyone can do. And you can start it today, right now.
Do it every morning when you wake up, while you brush your teeth, look in the mirror and think of five things you’re grateful for. Pick someone and tell them this week that you’re grateful for them or for something they did. Chances are it will make you feel better than them. Chances are you’ll feel far more comfortable around them and your relationships will begin to improve.
This week has been hectic for me personally, I felt I had so much reason to be mad at the world until it hit me. I have so much to be grateful for, so much to appreciate. I do not know what you are going through right now that is weighing you down. It could be anxiety, depression, a break-up, sickness or loss of a loved one. Keep your head up, I strongly believe if you look around you, you will find something to smile about. Whatever it is, hold on to it. Be strong, be courageous. Keep moving!
As always, hope you and yours are safe. Talk to us in the comments section and share with us your thoughts and views.
(Sidenote: When showing appreciation for someone or something, it should be genuine and not designed to get them to like you. This should be obvious to any emotionally-functioning adult, but I figured I’d drop it in here because you never know who comes by these days.)