Learning to appreciate life and being grateful


For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I wake up with a sever head ache often. Lying on the bed and staring at the ray of morning sun light on the wall that breaks through the curtains into my room, I reluctantly think of my sad life briefly and curse every moment of it. Why do these things happen to me? what did I do wrong to deserve this?, why cant anyone understand me or just simply reciprocate my honesty and genuine love with theirs? What does it take for people to be nice and honest?…… this bloody job I go to go to this morning… ah! I hate this life, I hate it vehemently and I hate the state of affairs!

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.  ~Epictetus

 These were the things I used to think almost every single morning after my divorce a few years ago. These feelings and thoughts were often compounded by the drudgery of day to day living with my bitter self and extremely critical and cynical outlook towards life. And I loved it! It soothed my soul with self pity. I could cuddle my thoughts and my love and pain for self and sleep away in my tears until the next time the sun breaks through those bloody curtains in my room. A lifestyle as my beloved brother so eloquently puts it: “wallowing like a hippo in a swamp”. A despicable life of absolute ungratefulness, total disregard to the people who still love me, support me, care about me, and disrespect to my work, my colleagues, their collective support and understanding and all the wonderful things I am gifted with in my life.

After the daily ritual of waking up with such extreme negativity I choose to conveniently forget the wonderful shower I have under the 10 inch Rain shower head that I had installed, sit in my super gorgeous Audi A6, listen to the soothing music on my Sirius Sat Radio, and glide to the prestigious company that I work for. I treat myself to a fancy lunch with my colleagues, return home in the evening and visit my brothers house and share a few million laughs with my ever entertaining and extremely funny nephews, get smothered in love, affection, concern from my family, then continue to meet with my friends and enjoy a few drinks and share a few more laughs and get back to my dungeon late at night. Dungeon: that is exactly where I lived. A nice 3 bedroom brightly lit house filled with old bad memories and my lonely self. And then I continue to wallow like a hippo in a swamp.

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues. — Cicero

 

Oh yes. I did many other things I could to divert my attention and try to appreciate the pain and sorrow of others. I sponsored a child, gave away money as much as I could with all the generosity I could muster. I helped everyone as usual without any regard for self and my own need for rest, money, security etc. All and anything I could do to help others as I always do and even more now. Volunteer at the local shelter for the homeless, donate food to the food bank, and be as charitable as I possibly can be.

Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life. — Christiane Northrup

 

But what I never did was be grateful for what I have and the amazing life I could live where I could do all these wonderful things for others and the endless love, support and the joy I could share with my wonderful family and friends. The concept of Thankfulness and Gratitude didn’t exist in my swamp! Not a single bit! Yeah, yeah! They told me everything I knew already. Be positive, look at the tragedies other people have gone through and still continue to be positive in life, take up a hobby, appreciate life so on and so forth. But they haven’t been hurt like I have. They haven’t experienced my pain. How world they know? They were never betrayed, they weren’t emotionally abused, looted, pillaged and lived through what I called a “Shakespearean “betrayal! Ha! Advice is cheap! Save your breadth, do not teach me the things I already know, but just simply keep giving me love and sympathy. That is all I needed now. And I continued to become a bitter person every day and morphed into this obese sloth that always had something negative or cynical to say about almost everyone or anything that I came across. Look at that idiot how he is driving his car, stupid waitress, ruthless boss, unjust and over demanding customers, lazy goal keeper, bloody airline staff, and thus the list continued.

To live a life of gratitude is to open our eyes to the countless ways in which we are supported by the world around us. Such a life provides less space for our suffering because our attention is more balanced. We are more often occupied with noticing what we are given, thanking those who have helped us, and repaying the world in some concrete way for what we are receiving. — Gregg Krech

 

Then one fine day, I woke up just simply tired! TIRED! Tired of being me, and what I had become. No, I didn’t have any life altering experience, no incident of intense inspiration, no epiphany, no bolt of lightning! Just simply woke up totally tired of being a despicable negative slob. I dragged myself to the mirror in the washroom. Took a good look at myself. And there I found this animal I never knew. Jouls hanging like a bulldog, a big pot belly, man boobs, unkept 70’s style long hair, a permanent frown, bags under my eyes, and just horribly haggard. And I couldn’t help think of this whole world around me and how they continued to still respect me, tolerate me, love me, and support this monster I had become. This negative, ugly, bitter and ungrateful monster, that I myself would never want to do anything with.

I soon began to realize a few very important things as I continued to ponder on what I had in my life as opposed to wallowing on what I didn’t have. I am an intelligent person with great wisdom. I am free and without any serious responsibility but for my own self. I have sufficient time on my hands. I am educated, smart and well informed. People value my opinions, seek my advice often, some look at to me for guidance or inspiration. I am nothing short of a perfectly able person with the ability to think on my own and free to choose how I want to live. And yet I chose to live the way I did. There was nothing holding me back to achieve what ever I wanted or desired for. And if there were any obstacles on my chosen path, like they always do, I could certainly come up with something to overcome them or avoid them based on my skills, intelligence and choice. But in order for me to help choose to make this very necessary charge towards a positive life I needed to do one thing first. I had to realize and deeply understand the amazing things I am truly blessed with. I needed to learn to appreciate the things and people around me with absolute honesty and humility. I had to learn to be grateful!

What if you gave someone a gift, and they neglected to thank you for it–would you be likely to give them another? Life is the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer, you must truly appreciate what you already have. — Ralph Marston

 

Since then, my life has been pretty good. I laugh at the silliness of the drivers in rage, I have learned to be more patient with the waitress, understanding of my bosses challenges and limitations, more empathetic of my customers situations, cheer on the goal keeper for at least trying his best to stop the puck,  request for the window seat as opposed to rudely demand at the check in counter, and understand their challenges too and do not expect to get a window seat and be pleasantly surprised when I get one. Life became easier, and suddenly I begin to notice nicer people, kinder people, more smiles and tolerance. With this came the can do attitude, the courage, the art of working towards solutions as opposed to worry about problems, and above all making better choices and taking full responsibility for my choices and the resulting outcome.

 

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. — Marcel Proust

 

I believe that all of us are too busy in our respective lives lost in our work, sorrows, pains, relationships and momentary self gratification my accruing materialistic things. We are too busy satisfying our bosses, our friends or loved ones, or just pampering our own self, our inflated egos, our sorrows and complexes. And being lost in this fast changing indulgence of momentary experiences of small satisfactions we often neglect the very core things, people, and experience that nurtures, feeds and holds our soul. These are often the experiences and things that mater the most in our lives, which we unfortunately only realize after having lost them.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.  ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

 So, take some time from your life to think about those people who hold you, understand you, support you, and care about you. Take some time to list the wonderful things that you have in your life for a change. Take the time to count your blessings. And think how your life would be without these people, and things. And when you will naturally experience the appreciation of these people and things, get up and go express your gratitude. Express your gratitude just in words but by your actions, deeds and the way you honor them by taking care of your life. And there beings your first step towards living a truly happier and satisfying life.

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.  ~William Arthur Ward

A few things you can do to become a more thankful being and appreciate life more.

  • Count your blessings, the things you have and the people who are always there for you (in person, morally, emotionally etc)
  • Enjoy what you have and do not cry over the things what you don’t. But also work towards getting the things you desire. They will not come to you by being bitter. Work towards it, earn it.
  • Exercise your choices in life and choose to be positive and better. Not negative and bitter.
  • Be generous and help others. By sharing their problems that you can help diminish will help you appreciate the problems that you do not have. Offer to help others if and when you can.
  • Be charitable. Support those who are less fortunate.
  • Thank others as much as you can. Express and show your appreciation for the things they do for you. Send a thank you note, give a hug, phone them and let them know you appreciate their presence in your life.
  • Practice some self criticism in an effort to self improve always. Learn to look at your life as an opportunity to do something positive as opposed to wasting it away in worries, anger, bitterness and hatred.

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