How many times do you hear yourself saying the words “I want” or “I wish”?
Probably often, many of us are addicted to this not enough syndrome. So, we rush buying the trendiest pair of shoes. We search for a better job, and we look for a new Mr. or Mrs. Right. For a bit, we feel accomplished. It seems we have finally found our happiness. Until the novelty passes, and once again we feel unhappy; the shoes become obsolete. Our boss is too demanding. And, we start to be annoyed by our partner habits. Wanting for more and wishing for better is a trap but, trough gratitude we can exit this vicious cycle. I know it sounds too simple to be true but, it works. In fact, if we start to focus on what we have, we begin to experience joy and contentment instead of frustration.
Another aspect of our life where we should practice gratitude is in our relationships. Usually, we tend to develop expectations from our family members, friends, partners, colleagues and so on. And, an act of kindness passes by unnoticed, or worst we take it for granted. In my personal experience, I started to think, what I would like to hear from others, and, I say it. I do it even with strangers. For example, at the supermarket, I call the cashier by name (it is easy, they wear a tag with their name on it), smile, and I thank wishing them a good day. It is a micro gesture but, it makes the receiver feel good about them. And, in return, I feel good too. When we express gratitude to others, they feel appreciated, and it strengthens our relationships.
Now, it is not always easy to feel or express gratitude. Especially when we face challenges, loss or adversity. Usually, many of us feel like the victim, and it seems as there is no room for Gratitude. But, we don’t know the future, and sometimes, a leap of faith is needed. We never know what we could learn from sufferings. A misfortune can become an opportunity for growth. I am not saying it is easy, but it is possible. I grew up with a disease, and for many years I just wanted to get over it, but I was battling against windmills. All my efforts were useless. And, trough Gratitude I became aware of the possibilities I had in front of me. One above all, I could help others to overcome this illness, across my experience. Trust me, I suffered, and I still suffer enormous pains but, I am a better version of me because of them. With patience and equanimity, the benefits of our sufferings will be unveiled.
At last but not least I would like to talk about self-acceptance. I am still working on it, and I believe it is a lifetime practice. Since we were kids, two words have been echoing in our head “Good” and “Bad”. We grew up with the misled idea that we should be one way or another. And, if not, we judged ourselves inclemently. We believe we are not enough. Personally, I still struggle with self-acceptance but, I do my best. I started making a list of harsh words, I used toward me: Bad, Ugly, stupid, fat, thin, ignorant, etc., and I canceled them from my vocabulary. It is not easy, especially because we have to overcome a lifetime habit. So, every time we are about to use one of those words we should stop, and focus on finding nicer synonyms. Sometimes, I still fall into that trap. But, I apologize to myself, and next time, probably, I won’t do it again.