A life skill? Yes, learning to be grateful is most certainly a skill that you, me and everyone else on the planet should learn.
The US just celebrated Thanksgiving, and although it’s a thoroughly US affair; a national holiday that grew from a tradition established by the first settlers in the country, at it’s roots is a life skill that anyone, anywhere could benefit from.
Thanksgiving put down its roots during a time of adversity and struggle, when individuals faced incredible hardships. When you think about it – which I suppose is what the national holiday is all about, a time to reflect – in the past, it’s when we suffered that the best in us had the chance to shine. During wars and famines, we tend to show our greatest courage, compassion and resourcefulness.
When we go without on some level, we learn to appreciate what we have even more. When a child is hungry, the vegetables on the plate they would normally turn their nose up at, take on the guise of nectar. When love is lacking, the faintest smile or touch from a friend feels like the biggest, warmest hug you’ve ever received. When you’re cold, clothes are clothes regardless of the label, what they look like or how much they cost.
In our current time of plenty, learning the life skill of being grateful just isn’t happening. Being thankful is being eclipsed by the likes of greed and envy.
Rather than thinking about what we have and how lucky we are to have it, we plough our precious energies into negative thinking about what we haven’t got, what we want, what we think we damn-well deserve and will go about getting at all costs.
A fire in the grate, companionship and warm bed to sleep in aren’t enough anymore unless it all comes with a 52 inch HD television, plethora of high-tech Apple gadgets, never-ending buffet, designer clothes and the right to move off our fat asses as and when we please!
What’s even scarier, is that this is the attitude we’re passing on to our children and young adults.
Many of the rioters in London this year weren’t the truly needy; those without basic necessities like fresh water, food and shelter – adversities the early settlers in the US faced when Thanksgiving was born – no! A large proportion of the rioters were those that had warmth, a very comfortable home, food, clothing, a television and mobile phone, they just didn’t have the best, most expensive, designer trainers, the biggest television, the latest high-tech mobile phone, the best job of the lot. They weren’t thankful for what they had, they were consumed by greed to have more and more, better and better and this attitude is rotting the roots of society.
Why shouldn’t I have the best” I hear you cry. Well… I’m not saying you shouldn’t.
What I’m saying is that if we’re to stop the rot, we need to re-learn the life skills of being grateful for what we’ve got and working positively towards what we want with Self-Discipline and Perseverance firmly in hand. Don’t simply give up and expect to be given or steal what you want regardless of others.
Don’t stop striving to achieve more – we’re human after all and striving to improve things is what’s enabled us to evolve – but, that striving should be part of positive go-getting goals and certainly not be detrimental to society as a whole or other individuals.
I’m well aware that corruption is out there. We pay for the lies the politicians sell us with our hard earned money and effort because there aren’t any better choices out there. But, doing the same only deepens the hardship.
The only way forward is to stop negatively and greedily yearning for what we haven’t got and start being thankful for what we have and working POSITIVELY towards goals that will achieve what we want without trampling on others.
If you’re constantly reaching for more and not enjoying what you have – you’ll find your Inner Imp Greed will soon be the one in the driving seat.
When you’re feeling disappointment or envying someone – and you will because these are natural feelings we all have – take a moment and seriously think about it. Do you have warmth, shelter, some food and clothing, loving friends and family? Then be grateful for those for that it what you truly NEED.
When you’ve done that, think about all the extras you have over and above these needs and be grateful for those too?
Retrain your thinking so that lack and disappointment don’t inflame negativity and greed but give birth to gratefulness and a positive goal to achieve greater things.
Gratefulness and Goals are the way to get what you want, not greed.