Happiness 102: Gratitude

“There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so, “~Buddha. A situation is just a situation, but you think about how it affects you and look for the reasons it hurts you. Try to look at every situation in a positive light. Be grateful for every situation you encounter.

 

Sure you may look at the loss of a job as a “bad” situation- you don’t have a steady supply of income, you won’t be able to support your family. But did you really like that job or did you just stay there because it gave you some money and some job security? Didn’t you really want to be a writer or a journalist or a video game designer but you just got complacent with the job you had? Even if this isn’t the case, you could still get a better job. This job loss can be the push you need to be motivated to do what you want.

Even the decisions we make are never good or bad. There are only possibilities and situations that help develop our character. I’ll take on substance abuse for example. You have the person who doesn’t abuse substances. On the surface you may see this as a good choice: they will never even the chance to face addiction. However, maybe that person would never face addiction anyway, but are missing out because of fear and having a drink wouldn’t have as adverse effect as they’d think. The ‘good’ choice allows fear to muster and forsakes the virtue of courage.

 

Let’s look at the other side: the person that does do some drugs. We would assume that they are making a bad decision (assumptions are not good, remember): They’ll become complacent with life; they’ll only seek to indulge, etc. However, maybe that person is doing it for spiritual reasons- many people do go to drugs seeking alternate consciousness and hoping for a spiritual awakening. But even if they’re not- even if the person is doing it to feel good, to indulge, that doesn’t make the decision bad. This may cause them to face addiction and some of the worse times of their life, but they will eventually realize that it’s causing pain, and try to leave this life of addiction. Think about people you’ve heard of or met that have gone to AA. They have become some of the most resilient people I personally have met. But they wouldn’t have become so resilient if not for the rough patch of their drug addiction. I picked one of the more serious decisions in life, but the same idea applies to most, if not, all decisions.

 

Everything can go wrong every day. You wake up to a burning apartment, a call from a loved one telling you that someone dear to you passed away, or even a call from your boss saying that you’ve been fired. But that doesn’t happen. Every day goes by fairly normally without any huge events going on. Think about how long you’ve lived in your house and it didn’t burn down- isn’t that amazing?! I’ve been robbed ONCE in the 20 years I’ve been alive, and maybe it will happen one more time- but even then there was a source of growth (they stole most of my electronics which was necessary for me to become more self-aware).

 

Be grateful for every moment that your house is normal, for every ‘bad’ decision you’ve made that led to your growth and to every day in general. People who do so tend to leave happier lives!

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One thought on “Happiness 102: Gratitude

  1. I love your statement “Everything can go wrong every day.” Indeed. I definitely approach life celebrating its little moments. With wisdom, I have learned to take some time to truly reflect and learn from those more challenging struggles, like divorce, losing a job, etc. As you suggest, there is an opportunity to grow with every step.

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