While I was studying positive psychology from the University of Illinois, the course emphasized that gratitude is quintessential for a happy life. And most of us have also been taught this since childhood as well - To thank the almighty or the nature for everything that we receive - the food in our plate, a healthy body, source of employment, and more.
Gratitude - A term that we often hear, we often quote, and we often struggle to really make a constant part of our life. Living in a constant state of gratitude is a journey, and I strongly believe that everyone has the power to reach the ultimate state of joy with it.
This journey requires discipline, persistence and a constant focus. Many life coaches teach various methods of practising gratitude including journaling and expressing it on a daily basis, some ask you to thank for any 3 things on an everyday basis, and so on. I’ve tried these methods too. They do help to an extent. But then when you spend just 15 minutes at night on this exercise, gratitude doesn’t unleash its true power.
The ultimate joy through gratitude lies in its continuous, effortless presence in our lives. From getting up to going back to bed, when you’re constantly and consciously grateful, your life changes. It need not be a forethought in your mind, but like a pleasant music that plays in the background.
However, as some people interpret, gratitude should not be mistaken for inertia. It isn’t that if we’re always thankful for what we have, we become less ambitious in life. Gratitude gives you an immense power for expansion. As you welcome what you receive in life, be it materialistic things, new and better relationships, a struggle, or new lessons, you make space for more. Being thankful gives you a power to embrace what you have, and look forward to more. It only increases your appetite for bigger, and better things to come.
This one maxim of my life has changed me completely over years. I’ve had my share of meaningless ambitions, of unrealistic expectations from people, of keeping up with the societal and class based expectations, and more. But by gradually increasing the space of gratitude in my life, I’ve been able to push the drama out of my life and stay more content with myself as a person and make space for constant improvement in life. How someone else lives their life doesn’t hassle me much. Nor do I chart my life based on what is the norm.
Gratitude has made me appreciate the important aspects of my life that I had taken for granted. It has taught me the value of things, has significantly reduced my need of external validation, and has pushed me to do more. Needless to say, it is the most important maxim of my life.