“Throughout history wise men and women have encouraged us to feel grateful for what we have. Why? Very simply because gratitude makes us feel good.” Richard Carlson, Ph.D
“We need to regularly stop and take stock; to sit down and determine within ourselves which things are worth valuing and which things are not; which risks are worth the cost and which are not. Even the most confusing or hurtful aspects of life can be made more tolerable by clear seeing and by choice.” Epictetus
“Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.” ~ Marcus Aurelius
As we review our lives since the beginning or even over the past year, we might think of the happy times, but I fear most of us dwell on those moments of pain. It seems to be human nature, to want to make all things perfect in our lives. No matter how wonderful the year might have been, we review what went wrong during the difficult times.
Told to do our best from the time we understood what that meant, programs us to strive for goals, attainment, wealth and achievement. This leaves us working hard, for those who dare to take up the challenge. We have become “A one” personalities so to speak. We find as much fault in ourselves, as we find in others. It leaves us with feelings of insecurity, self doubt, distrust and a damaging notion of dissatisfaction.
The eager barrage of incentives, to keep working towards elusive dreams and ideas, overshadows reality, inner beauty and truth. We don’t have time to think about what is going correctly in our lives, because we are too busy with what we are trying to fix, make better, or evolve into. I find it strange that our inner feelings and nature, come in second, to our achieving acknowledgement from the world. Of course this world may consist of our boss, co-corkers, parents, spouse, siblings or any combination.
Leading a thoughtful, calm and gentle life is not enough for most of us. Somehow we must prove ourselves, make our mark on the world, or within our own circle. This defines us and proves our success. We should question how we define success, and how does our success define us. Being a new year, I thought it appropriate to consider resolutions, and thoughts about life. Considering what we value may explain to us, who we are by what we treasure.
I easily forget how much I have to be thankful for. I worry about the work I accomplish, the money I require to survive, the people who have lost my trust, the people who have hurt me or dismissed me time and again, and those who seem to be able to make so much more than I will ever be capable of earning. The envy and jealousy feelings creep in, when I believe I am as good as they are, so why do I strive while they coast. I loathe the health issues I deal with, and resent the good health of others. I ask myself why me.
I assume this sounds familiar on one level or another. Some of us let it sink in and fester, while others let it drift in, linger for a bit, and then we send it packing. In short time, we pick ourselves up and again, and step along the path of our journey. We tell ourselves to work harder, give more time, and focus. We even give up our free time with friends and family, to accomplish the tasks we have set for ourselves. Our life gets busier and busier but it is okay. Now we don’t have time to review what we lack, when we have filled our lives with obstacles to overcome, and goals to reach. This appears to work, except for an unusually quiet moment, when we again review our state of mind, and find we have dropped even further into the well of despair.
There seems to be no answer. We have done all we can, and the dream is elusive and further away than ever. We have become so defeated, that we don’t recognize who we are any more. Family and friends seem to mean less to us, and as a matter of fact, we don’t have the time to understand them anymore.
Honestly, this year it is time to get back to the basics of your life. It is totally more relevant to recall what your treasures are, and how much they mean to you. As easy as it might be to say, I don’t care about this one or that one anymore, you would miss them if they were gone from your life. People are our gifts. They are the irreplaceable items in our lives. They are not dispensable. Once we come to deduce their relevance, other ambitions we set and try to accomplish, pale in comparison.
Counting our blessings actually uplifts our emotional state. Just as over-thinking your dilemmas can induce anxiety, casting special relationships into the background of our lives reduces emotional well-being. He who is rich has the love of friends and family. Focus on that for the new year, and have faith you will be relaxed in your burdens. Love relieves pain. People experiencing hospital procedures always want someone they love nearby. Even people with Dementia, prefer to stay close by someone they have always trusted. Somehow love supersedes everything else.
If a person had to keep only one thing, his fortune, fame, youth, beauty, prowess, accomplishments, intelligence or people he loves, I would bet the love would always take first place. We can all function without the former but we die inside without the later. People are downtrodden, even if they believe falsely that they are unloved. How strange to worry our whole lives about everything else, except what is vital to us all.
If we have love in our lives, then we already have much to be grateful for. Instead of thinking about the items we are lacking, count your blessings, by counting the people you love and care about. That should make all of us smile. During this year, vow to spend time with those you love. If you can’t do it in person, use the phone or computer or Skype or whatever. Promise yourself you will stop putting people off in deference to things.
When we are feeling pain, it is people who push our clouds away. Have a fantastic new year full of enlightenment about what we should appreciate but have been taking for granted. Watch as your happiness is guaranteed to soar. The more we come to know what is to be cherished, the greater our increase of love, companionship, empathy tolerance, and joy. More attention to loved ones fills our hearts with love. The rest of our workload of striving towards outward goals, will be a piece of cake.
“It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.” ~ Naomi Williams
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” ~ Cicero
“If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.” John Wooden
“It isn’t what you have in your pocket that makes you thankful, but what you have in your heart.” Author Unknown
“Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.” ~ Ralph Marston
“Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have.” Unknown
“When life is sweet say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter say thank you and grow.” Unknown
“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” Cynthia Ozick
“We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not figures on a dial. We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.” ~ Phillip James Bailey