Cultivate the Habit of Gratitude
Gratitude is not so common anymore in our existing civilization. I guess the tussle between old beliefs and new ones never ends. Such value keeps getting stifled within our desires and self-absorption as everything keeps evolving.
Occasionally, we perceive those who are grateful as being weak or lacking proper ambition. It has become an idea deeply ingrained in our minds. Some people don’t even have it in their lexicon to say the word -’thank you’ because they feel the world is always at their feet, and everyone living in it was created to serve their purpose.
Furthermore, most people lack the attitude of being grateful because they are always envious of what they don’t have. Those who display such attitudes normally live a life of scarcity and entitlement. They are hardly contented with what they have. Nothing you do for them is enough.
Oftentimes, those who are ungrateful even make it your priority to keep them happy simply because of your relationship with them.
If you catch yourself exhibiting ungrateful habits, you need to train your mind to rediscover a part of you that is selfless and at the same time productive. You can start by;
Developing a Strong Work Ethic
Those who are lazy and undisciplined are much more prone to feeling ungrateful. You need to avoid this path as much as possible. Having a strong sense of purpose, objective, or a belief in your calling in life is a considerable way to inoculate yourself against ungratefulness.
When you are strictly focused on your own life and plans, and you work towards them with commitment, you would always feel satisfied and grateful for something. Realizing your potentials, and knowing that you are helping others would readjust your mindset to appreciate life as it is, as well as the people in it.
Don’t catch yourself imitating those who are lazy and always complaining. They are never grateful for anything, or to anyone that supports them.
‘Mitfreude’: The Attitude of Rejoicing with others.
Mitfreude; means “joying with” is a German phrase made popular by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.
According to Nietzsche;
“The serpent that stings us means to hurt us and rejoices as it does so; the lowest animal can imagine the pain of others. But to imagine the joy of others and to rejoice at it is the highest privilege of the highest animals.”
Train yourself to actively feel other people’s joy, rather than envy them. Imagine how it feels to experience their happiness and success. And imagine how grateful they feel. This can be quite difficult because it is part of our natural human instinct to feel bad or envious when others (especially those close to us) are progressing and rejoicing, while we are lagging.
Regardless, you can use mitfreude to your own benefit. It Is just an issue of switching your perception and the way you see others when they are rejoicing.
When people close to you are rejoicing that is the perfect opportunity for you to pride yourself in knowing them. Rejoice with them as if you are rejoicing with yourself for knowing such people. In Nigeria we have a slogan for this, we call it ‘famzing’ which means -being familiar with those that are successful. It is synonymous with the mitfreude in this context.
In doing this you would purge your mind from any form of envy. And as you rejoice with them it puts you in an atmosphere of gratefulness and confidence, that you know great and happy people.
Quick side notes: when famzing or rejoicing with others, don’t be manipulative about it. Don’t famz them or rejoice with them simply because you want to beg them for a favor. This is not only weak and foolish, but people can easily use it against you. When they notice you are rejoicing with them simply because you want a favor, it would only create a window of opportunity for them to humiliate and ridicule you (either publicly or behind your back) to inflate their own ego.
Practicing mitfreude rids you of the natural tendency to envy people’s achievement. It trains your mind to internalize other people’s joy and gratitude, and in turn – increases your positivity, joy, and gratitude.
Compare Yourself with Those Lower than You.
We are all addicted to comparisons, but this can be used positively to develop and maintain the habit of gratitude. Rather than always comparing yourself with people that you feel are more successful or lucky, do the reverse.
Compare yourself instead with those who are living lower lives or haven’t achieved anything. You are not doing this to ridicule them. But to spot how far you have journeyed through life, and what you have.
For instance, it baffles me how people living in developed countries keep complaining and protesting in the streets over petty issues. It clearly shows that a great percentage of these citizens cannot adapt or survive in some developing countries for a week.
For instance, some developing countries still suffer low power supply to this day. Case in point, I am literally typing this article in darkness. And not to exaggerate, I haven’t had the pleasure of enjoying stable power supply since I was born. In Nigeria, power supply has been a major issue the government has failed to resolve amongst other things.
Sometimes, when the national electric board supplies us power, it doesn’t last for 3 hours in a day. When they finally decide to restore power, it can take up to 4–5 days, or even weeks.
But most developed countries don’t suffer living in darkness or other basic social amenities. Not because I have watched too many foreign movies to tell, but because I have some friends and relatives who are abroad. They never fail to boost about the adequate system, freedom, and accessibility they seem to be enjoying.
My point with this is – when you feel you have nothing to be grateful for, or your life is an entire mess, think of those who don’t even eat a complete 3-square meal a day. They don’t even have a soup kitchen where they can get food from. Think of those perpetually living in darkness and poor conditions, while you have access to basic amenities and livelihood.
There are majority of persons who are homeless. Children who are in the streets begging rather than being in a classroom. I’m not trying to make this appear sad or sympathetic, but it needs to be said because sometimes we can be so caught up in frivolous thoughts and unquenchable desires that we forget what reality is like. And also this leads to my final point.
Instead of spending time counting your losses and feeling ungrateful in life and to those close to you. Do something for once to help others aside yourself. Help people who need it.
Visit the orphanage and help. Create valuable products and services that can solve existing problems. Contribute to saving your environment. Find ways to be useful and to give.
This would improve your sense of gratitude. And it would constantly remind you that life is short, and every minute of it should be appreciated.
Don’t read without showing gratitude by engaging. 👍
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