Now a days people tend to mainly focus on what they don’t have and what they want for their future. Others might also focus on the present, but with very little appreciation of the past. Very few of us understand the high value of our past and life histories correctly.
Gratitude is a crucial aspect we should use when we look back on our past. It is sure to positively influence our present and future. It can be understood as a duty and as a commitment, but also as an action in which we get to focus on our self and on our life path.
A proper look at the past is a crucial aspect. We should look at the past as a source of experiences and answers much like a source of wisdom. Looking at it in a balanced way, observing the positive and negative experiences helps to understand life as a trial and error process. And in that sense, to understand every experience as an opportunity to learn.
Why is gratitude so important and why should we practice it as an important aspect of our present and future life?
People are always trying to improve themselves, and they are searching for the best methods to do this. When you are working on yourself, your past cannot be ignored. Gratitude is a key method of studying our past in an all-encompassing way.
Gratitude is recognizing all the positives in your life and having conscious and intentional thoughts about how and why you take them for granted. It is about appreciating your life and realizing that not everyone in the world is given the same chances and opportunities as you are.
It not only allows us to identify all the incredible blessed things that happen in our lives but also to better understand the challenging ones. It essentially allows us to learn from our mistakes made in the past.
Gratitude is one of the most effective ways to notice all the great things that are actually happening in our lives. But it is also, and probably more importantly, a key point to be aware of who we are, our history and where we are going.
Gratitude is a process that helps us to keep the big picture of our life in perspective. We should never forget where we come from. Being grateful for the traveled road helps us to remember our origins. And in that sense, to visualize the future with more confidence.
Five essential ways of practicing gratitude on a daily basis:
1. Be grateful for the life, health and love within you and make it part of your daily life attitudes. Every morning thank life in front of the mirror and mention three things for which you feel grateful. A new day is a new opportunity to make your life your greatest creation. Be grateful for that new opportunity. A few examples of gratitude statements that you could make use of are:
- “I am grateful that I am in good health”
- “I am grateful that I have a supportive family”
- “I am grateful that I have been given the opportunity to go to university”
2. Be grateful for the difficult circumstances in the present because they are the ones that will guide you to your dreams and to achieve your goals. They are not problems. We must see them as what they really are: challenges that give us the opportunity to grow and to prove ourselves capable and ready for higher stages. These challenges are what you should be waiting for, because they will make it possible for you to reach your best possible self. When you are facing hard circumstances, remember that it is just a lesson to be learned from. The more difficulties you encounter, the more you will grow as a person and the stronger you will become
3. If any circumstance of your day causes you negative feelings such as discomfort, anger, resentment; focus on the positive aspects of those circumstances (there are always positive aspects if we know how to understand it) and be grateful for them. Do not let the difficulties discourage you. Focus on the opportunities. Gratitude converts negative feelings into positive energy, and this in turn is a source of ingenuity for new alternative solutions and, therefore, personal growth and achievements. A brief history example might help to understand this point.
As a newcomer and outsider Maria gets a new job in a restaurant in her new city. She is very happy to get this job because it is a good student job, and it is a big opportunity to insert herself in this new society and connect with people and learn.
After a few months she has learned the principal tasks and became quite good at it. However, she notices her colleagues keep asking her to do the heavier tasks so that they can avoid doing them, even though it should be an equal team effort. Maria can really identify that her coworkers are taking advantage of her and that it is unfair that she must work twice as hard and therefore end up more tired.
At first sight, this situation causes her a strong discomfort and negative energy. She has repeatedly thought that the best thing to do is to confront her colleagues and express what she thinks. After rethinking about the circumstances, Maria realizes that confronting her colleagues, even if she is saying the truth, is not going to give her what she wants: a fair distribution of the amount of work. But, on the contrary, her colleagues might start to dislike her because of her decision. That being said, doing nothing is also not a good way to resolve the conflict.
The previous circumstances can be seen as a difficult, but Maria realize that she is not looking correctly at the situation. And later on, she realizes that this “difficulty” is actually a challenge that will give her in the future a bigger opportunity to keep the job and maybe to get a better position. She decided to do all the tasks with a lot of energy, with dedication and with excellence. And she decided to accept all the tasks that her colleagues give her with a big smile and satisfaction. Or even better, she decided to take initiative and start doing the tough jobs before anyone asks her to do them. Doing this she will get a very good review about her job from her boss. But perhaps more importantly, because she must work harder and learn more than the others, she will develop her skills quicker. This is of course very good for her. At the end, Maria felt very grateful for these challenges, which she will make use of as an opportunity!
4. Helping others every time you get the opportunity is an important part of growing as a person and as a human being. When we are able to keep in mind all the generous people who help us in our difficult moments and feel grateful and blessed for it, we become conscious of how vulnerable as human beings we actually are and how much generosity from others has helped us. So we should learn to be humble and to recognize great value in helping others just as we were helped when needed. We understand our duty to help others with humility. Being humble is an essential part of growing.
5. We are made of our thoughts! Our thoughts produce negative or positive energy within us and guide us towards our decisions. Our choices have brought us to where we are, and they determine where we will be and who we will be in the future. We are our thoughts. Gratitude is an essential source of clarity of thought and positive thinking. Gratitude helps us to manage our thoughts and, therefore our energy for our convenience.