In my worst and most difficult of moments, I try to remind myself of all I’m grateful for. I started to say “All I have that I’m grateful for” but then realized gratitude is not about what you have. It’s about appreciating who you have, what you’ve made it through and who you are.
It’s easy to be grateful for a steady pay check or the roof over your head. It’s much more difficult to watch as your house and everything in it is washed away or burns to the ground and just be grateful you and your family are safe.
Difficult gratitude is the uneasy path that leads to a happier life. While uneasy, it’s worth it. Finding something to be thankful for when it’d be easier to find someone to blame has given me a better life.
Such a practice forces you to pivot your focus from the negative to the positive. It takes your perspective from red to black in a matter of seconds.
Then slowly but surely, your whole life begins to shift. You find humility. You learn to appreciate the little things you once took for granted. You find beauty in all you overlooked when you were busy searching for flaws and imperfections.
It is a way of overcoming our thoughts on a daily basis, of using our minds as weapons for good instead of self sabotaging ones. Rest assured, thoughts are things. Things that either lead to our peace of mind or our unhappiness.
Most peoples primary problem is their perspective. The story they have told themselves about themselves for so long becomes the only one they know how to tell.
What I constantly try to remind myself of is the fact it could always be worse and no matter how bad it may get for me, I’m almost certain I’ve been through exponentially worse than whatever it is I’m going through.
There was a time when I didn’t know how to be grateful for anything or anyone. I took all I had for granted because I felt entitled to it. Turns out, my level of gratitude is directly correlated to my level of happiness. When I was most ungrateful, I was most unhappy. I had all the things I think I want now but appreciated none of them. When I reflect back, I actually blamed them for my unhappiness.
When you are unhappy with who you are, you’re equally as unhappy with everyone and everything around you as well. You self project rather than take inventory of yourself.
Gratitude has helped me kill ego. The same ego that spent years ensuring I was never satisfied. The one that wouldn’t let anything go and needed the last word.
It has helped me learn to be accountable for my actions and words, again it helps replace blame with thanks. When someone I love does something that bothers or slights me today, I try to remind myself of all the value they’ve added to my life over the years rather than focus on whatever mundane or minuet thing they did or said in which I disagreed with.
That is the difficult brand of gratitude I spoke of earlier. Not easy, just worth it.
This post would be incomplete if I didn’t thank the author not only responsible for the gratitude I try to practice on a daily basis but also the one who has probably had a larger influence on my writing than any other in James Altucher.
James taught me to choose myself at a time nobody else would. To reinvent myself when I became unhappy with the old me.
That we all have an abundant of things to be grateful for if we just open our eyes and minds to them. Thanks James, it is because of you, today I’m truly grateful.
To anyone unfamiliar with his work, do yourself the favor and head over to www.jamesaltucher.com. His books literally changed my life.