What gratitude means to me

Why gratitude?

Most of us feel that we could have more out of our lives, that we could feel happier, more fulfilled, more productive…

In a previous post, where I wrote about our search for happiness (don’t miss it), I explained how I think that we don’t appreciate enough what we have, which leads us to miss the whole feeling of happiness when we have new achievements in our lives.

There’s something I came to understand: being grateful is a choice. We can either be grateful for what we have or not. Not being grateful, or not appreciating what we have will not bring us more, or solve world problems. On the other hand, being grateful redirect us to becoming a better and more fulfilled being. And this, as I said on my first post welcoming you, will for sure improve the world. I started understanding that we don’t need to live our lives helping others in order to be a good person. If you feel this is not your purpose, or part of something you do naturally, stop faking it, or recriminating yourself. If you are happy and open-hearted, grateful for what you have and respectful to others, your positive and shinning energy will help to brighten the world!

When you are grateful and respectful, you are a positive presence in the world.

Most times we live absorbed by the small things of our daily life, which is normal. However, it is truly important what we are aware of that. The truth – as I see it – is that every single moment that passes by we are given a new brand opportunity to love, to enjoy and to do whatever we think we’ve failed to accomplish. Unfortunately, because we don’t stop and make an effort to be present, we only recognize what we had when we lose it. Often, when we want to be grateful for what we have just lost, it is already too late – and this is mostly true when referring to human relations.

If you are like me, and sometimes you feel something is missing, maybe you look around and you see all these positive people, who have this beautiful energy and seem to have a perfect, fulfilling life, and you don’t understand how they can be so happy. I believe they are just grateful.

For most people, gratitude is not their natural disposition – being it a personal or cultural characteristic. If you don’t understand how to be grateful and it feels you are forcing it, it is ok! As long as you are willing to change your mental behavior, you’re already in the right direction. It might take some effort and time, and maybe you have to fake it until you make it, but it will be worth doing it.

I am one of those people. I don’t always feel happy, and I did not always feel grateful for what I had. On the other hand, I would feel frustrated with myself because I knew I should be more grateful. I have been so privileged in my life, yet I had this thing pulling me down. I kept emotionally torturing myself while dealing with this internal conflict, until I was in contact with Thai and Cambodian people.

For a more fulfilling life experience, we need to practice an attitude of gratitude

Once again, this experience was exceptional, as it actually made me feel grateful – not rationally but emotionally. The contact with pure-hearted and grateful people taught me how easy it can be to deeply feel gratitude.

An interesting fact is that in both Thailand and Cambodia, the sign for saying “thank you” is to put your hands together (like if you were praying), lower your head and say the word. The first few times I did that, or saw people doing it, it felt weird. For me, it felt like being submissive as, in general, lowering your head has a thin border between submission and respect. However, once you open yourself to fit in their cultures, it starts being normal. Actually, the reason I am writing about this, is because after a while it started feeling good, and peaceful. I think because I had to stop and be present, to align my body in coherence with my words, I started to actually feel thankful every time I would thank someone. It felt soooo good!

So, today I challenge you to stop 5 minutes and think: what do you feel grateful for? Do you actually mean when saying “thank you” to someone, or is it only a polite behavior? What if we start looking into the eyes of a person when thanking her? Do you think you will actually start feeling grateful for whatever you are thanking for? I challenge you to try!

Try it for a couple of days, think about it, and come back! Let us know what you have experienced.

With gratitude for your presence here,
Dani

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