Relationships & Compassion, Soul Searching

Why does something bad need to happen for us to feel a sense of gratitude?

Life seems to go round and round most of the time. We go to work, complain about it, get bored with daily chores, complain about them, get stuck in traffic, complain about it, we get lots of WatsApp notifications, we complain about them, no one WatsApps us, we complain about it and this goes on. Wow! We seem to be complaining a lot. And, that’s not a surprise! It’s actually very easy to get used to the complaining game, and take things for granted. 

Though, as you read this, I’m sure you disagree. You’re probably thinking that yes, you do complain, but it’s not like you’re unhappy. You’re quite happy with how things are going. And, a little bit of whining didn’t do anyone any harm. It doesn’t and it’s healthy once in a while. However, habits form quickly, and before you know it you might be whining all the time without taking any action, just because you’re so used to it. But, why is this so harmful? 

It’s harmful because every time you complain, you forget to enjoy your life. Every time you whine, you forget to appreciate what you have. And, every time you complain, you engineer yourself to complain even more in the future. Because habits form fast. It’s also harmful because you might really have nothing to complain about. And, you might be making yourself really miserable by doing this. And, because you don’t want a day to come when you think, “Oh things were so good then, why did I always whine?”

When do people usually realize? 

Recently, I read a few articles on the same theme. About how people suddenly got to know that they had terminal illnesses and that’s when they realized they hadn’t really appreciated what they had all long. Maybe they had a really good job, and now they realized that another day in office is what they would really like. They realized that they hadn’t appreciated and made time for their families. They realized that they were so busy finding imperfections in their life, they didn’t realize their life was more perfect than imperfect. But, why does such a day need to come for people to feel a sense of gratitude? 

If you look at your life, and start counting all your blessings, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed. Because, there’s so much that you have but forget to appreciate. 

But, shouldn’t we strive to be better? 

Striving to be better and comparing yourself to others and feeling bad is unfortunately not the same thing. Most of the sadness around me seems to stem from “Oh, she travels so much, why can’t I?” or “Oh, she has the best clothes, why don’t I?” This doesn’t seem to be the same as “I’m not exercising regularly, I should!” The focus should be on “you” not “you in comparison to others”. 

What if I’m really not happy!

You must be reading this and wondering that it’s fine for me to tell you to be happy and appreciate what you have, but what if you’re really not happy. Well, if that’s the case, even then, whining won’t help. Yes, you must vent all you can, but eventually you’ll need to take action. I used to complain about traffic all the time, I really hated it (I still do) and for a long while I just complained about it. Nowadays, I read a book in the cab, and also try to leave office at non-peak hours, so that I can make better use of my time. Yes, I can’t change the situation, but I can try and make it better for myself. However, complaining and getting frustrated wasn’t helping matters one bit. 

So how do I change my habits? 

The best way to appreciate what you have is to make a note of them. Sometimes, people forget what they have because we tend to focus on the negatives so much. However, it’s always easy to bring the focus back on positives by just reminding ourselves of what we have. We tend to take most things for granted, and only want the things we can’t have. 

 

Maintaining a gratitude journal is a popular way to note down what matters to you. Usually spending about 5-10 minutes daily to make a note of things you are thankful for, go a long way in making you feel better. However, I know that maintaining a schedule to do so might feel like an imposition for some people. And, you should definitely follow process you’re comfortable with. No one can force you to feel better about things, after all! 

You can always just set some time aside everyday to think about what you feel happy about, there’s no need to write it down if you don’t want to. Another way is to write about your blessings when you feel compelled to complain or whine. You can also just talk to your friends and family and let them know how much you appreciate them. I’m sure that would make them happy as well! 

So, it’s all about shifting your focus and focusing on what is really working, and focusing on fixing things which are not working rather than just complaining and whining about them. And, if you need some inspiration, below is a page from my bullet journal! 

Count Blessings

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