I WANT YOU TO BE GRATEFUL.

Yes, I want you to be grateful. Take this as an order or take it under whatever tone you prefer. Well, I don’t give orders anyway. I suggest. The rest is up to you. We have free will so…

However, if you deliberately choose to follow my suggestion, I want you to repeat that everyday. I want you to find one thing to be grateful every day. I do not want you to lose sight of the little, basic, essential things that matter in life. Being grateful should be one of those crucial things. It should be second nature. It should be as easy as breathing. It should be part of daily life. It should be so easy that you wouldn’t need to think about it. You simply remember you have things to be grateful for, and you smile, no matter the circumstances. Imagine being grateful becoming a reflex? That ain’t bad at all…

Perhaps, it must be the way we were programmed to think. Let’s be honest, let’s be real; if you look around, you could find hundreds (thousands?) of reasons NOT to be grateful. Let’s be honest, let’s be real; there are thousands of things you do not possess and especially things you will never have, no matter how hard you try. Moreover, there must be things that were taken from you, things that you almost got, things that you wish you had, things and people you lost. There must be pain and sorrow somewhere in your body and mind. There always is. There are thousands of reasons NOT to be grateful.

Nevertheless, I am an eternal optimist and I truly and strongly believe you only need one reason to be grateful. You simply need one reason. You don’t need two or several reasons to be grateful; one will do just fine. If you took 10 seconds to think of a reason, you’d find one. If I were generous and gave you 2 more minutes, I am positive you would find a few more reasons to be grateful. You wouldn’t even have to think that hard. As you are reading this text, reasons to be grateful are flooding your mind! Isn’t that magical? Right now, you are smiling. How do I know that? First of all, I am smiling as I write this and second of all, because you thought of the things you are grateful for and a smile came on your face slowly and easily.

Gratitude isn’t hard. I would go as far as calling it easy in most cases. Right now, you are grateful for what you have. Some of you are looking at your kids, at your spouse, at your parents, at your friends, at your own house or apartment, at your bank account perhaps, at your health, at your family, at the fact you still have a job amid this pandemic, at your ability to take care of yourself, at your weight loss, at your new degree. Some of you are just looking at the sun outside. Some of you, including myself, are simply grateful to be alive today. Some of you are looking at yourselves and you are smiling. I know…You are grateful to be alive and well. You are grateful for the most basic reason; the ability to breathe! Imagine that.

Gratitude is heavily underrated. Gratitude is enormously undervalued, undercelebrated, understated, underestimated, underappreciated, downplayed. Sometimes, gratitude is forgotten whether it is done intentionally or not. It isn’t a cliché to be grateful everyday. When you are grateful, when you choose to look at life through a positivity prism, people will paint you as too happy, fake, they will say you overdo it, you exaggerate those emotions, you do this and that. Gratitude is a real problem for some people when they see gratitude in others. Perhaps it stems from the fact that some people have a problem with other people’s business, happiness, mental state and overall lives. I will never understand that.

I know I said I don’t tell people what do. However, please, for the love of all the Gods, do not listen to people who will say that being grateful is simply vanity talking. They might even tell you are bragging, that you are being boastful, that you are showing off. It matters not. You are being grateful. Are there people who overshare and advertise all aspects of their lives? Sure, they exist. Are there people who try, in vain, to cover vanity with fake gratitude? Yes, they exist, by the millions!

If those people annoy you, avoid them. When did it become hard or impossible to avoid people or to unfollow their IG, Facebook, Snapchat, or twitter accounts? Is your phone forcing you to follow those people? No, it isn’t. You choose to look at those profiles. So, stop because the complaints are simply tiresome. Thank you.

Once again, I am not telling you what to do. I am telling you what I do. I am extremely grateful for whatever I got going on in my life. For the record, and I am sure you might suspect this, my life isn’t perfect. It is filled with problems, like everyone’s life, I might add. Yet, despite those issues, I am grateful. I always look at what I have. I know what I don’t have, and I choose to focus on what I have. When it comes to intangible things, I am wealthy, I am not even rich! I am grateful because I am aware of how blessed I am! Gratitude doesn’t mean things are perfect. Things are always imperfect but there are always things going well and those are the things we must celebrate and cherish.

This year has been quite sad and difficult for so many people, including myself, I won’t lie. Yet, we could always find a reason, because we need one reason, to be grateful every day. I know gratitude has helped me tremendously in my own life. Gratitude helps every day. It isn’t easy to find every day, nor do we want to find gratitude when the world is crumbling around us.

Yet, gratitude is never a waste of time or energy. Being appreciative of what you have, is a skill, a behavior that I urge people to acquire. If you are already grateful, please sharpen your gratitude the way samurais sharpen their swords daily. It will help during your darkest moments, and it will strengthen your existing relationships. Being grateful and showing it, creates trust between people. I also believe gratitude keeps you grounded and lucid.

I want you to be grateful. Be grateful for anything you have, for any gift, any blessing. Be grateful and most importantly, understand your blessings, your gifts, whatever it is you have. The moment you appreciate what you have and you stop taking things and people for granted, your gratitude becomes stronger and its roots go deeper and it stabilizes you the way roots stabilize a tree. Life is fickle; whatever blessing you have today, it could disappear in an instant. I am not wishing this on anyone, but life is capricious and unpredictable; she has a mind of her own. Be grateful, for tomorrow could be a radically different day. Be grateful, for tomorrow isn’t promised. Be grateful and show your gratitude, especially to those you hold dear.

I want you to be grateful. Start with small things. Start by being grateful for who you are, for what you have. To quote someone (I don’t remember their name): “gratitude is the attitude”. I know gratitude brings lots of smiles. I know gratitude brings joy. I know gratitude brings serenity. That’s why I want you to be grateful.

Just one man’s opinion.

Now smile, be grateful and go on with your day.

Freeman. B

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