A teacher drew a black dot in the middle of a standard 5’ x 4’ whiteboard and asked her class of fourth-graders what they saw. ‘A black dot, miss!’, replied all 20 of her students. She had never asked this question to her students before, yet they were all in complete sync while answering. But why are we talking about a bunch of fourth graders?
It’s because many of us are exactly like them. Consider the board as your life, where the portion in white refers to things to be grateful for and, the black dot symbolizes the challenges in life.
What do the majority of us see? A black dot, miss!
“When you focus on the good, the good gets better”
– Abraham Hicks
Why do we think the way we think?
I am sure most of you use WhatsApp. Have you ever noticed that whenever you are added to a group, all the media files are automatically downloaded to your phone? Frankly, I am not a big fan of having all the ‘Good morning’ photos and other irrelevant files stored in my gallery. So what do we do? We simply go to settings and change the default setting from yes to no.
However, we often forget to change the default settings of our lives. Is it possible that we still have a lot of irrelevant thoughts and emotions within us that aren’t helpful? Things that are only taking up precious space that could be utilized more effectively?
Let’s give ourselves some credit here, we weren’t born tech gurus. We took our time to find out how to change the settings, I didn’t even know we had such an option when I first started using WhatsApp.
Changing the default settings of our lives can be a little more challenging, so let’s understand how we got to this configuration in the first place. Let’s go back to the black dot on a whiteboard. The white part of the board depicts the things we have, and the black dot points at the things we want. The dot is usually external to us, and when we depend on things external to us to feel something within us, it becomes very easy for us to not feel content.
But why do we want THE DOT so bad even if it’s causing such uneasiness? The answer is BENCHMARKS! Society has made it normal for one to continuously move towards ‘Where we want to be’ from ‘Where we are’, without giving much importance to the notion of ‘Accepting NOW, as where we are supposed to be’. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against people having personal and professional goals, but I am curious to know how much more content the journey could be if we didn’t wrap our happiness around these goals. If we simply enjoyed the moment. It’s like we are so caught up with reaching the destination that we are forgetting to enjoy the journey. How would life be different if our journey was the destination? Our default settings may be taking too much space with worries of what has happened or what might happen. With these settings, we cannot acknowledge or be grateful for what is happening.
Why is Gratitude a Great Attitude?
This isn’t a very difficult question, so I would suggest you answer it in your head before reading further. Come on, just do it!
It is possible that you got some answers relating to being able to enjoy the journey, avoid spiraling, perform better, live a more satisfying life, etc. So what does this tell us? It’s not like we don’t know the perks of being grateful, it could be just that our current settings are preventing us from availing these benefits. Simply believing that being grateful is helpful might not do the trick, unless it is acted upon. After all, “You aren’t your beliefs, you are your actions” – Anonymous
How to Make Gratitude Second Nature
Let’s explore some ways that might help us make Being Grateful our habit, then lifestyle, and eventually our default settings:
Our cravings for more usually become the reasons for our sorrows that make us look past what’s going well. We could simply ask ourselves ‘What’s going well?’ In any way, we want to remind ourselves of our blessings.
But of course, there are times when we just aren’t in the state to deal with situations ourselves. Most of us, if not all, turn to a higher sense of being at times like these. It could be GOD, a higher level of energy/white light, or anything else that we like to call it. It might be useful for some to purposely prompt a question such as ‘How would God tell me to deal with this?” whenever life throws lemons at us.
Look at your own journey, I am sure all of you have been through times that were supposedly tough, but your perspective to look at it changed the way you felt and/or thought about it. Identify your own ways that have worked in the past for you to be more grateful.
Life is a blessing, how would it feel to treat it like one? I’ll leave that for you to explore. Have a great rest of the day!