I have discussed the power of gratitude before. But it is SO important to Pathwalking, it really bears repeating.
It is almost impossible to improve upon what you have in life, whether it is something material or immaterial, if you are not already grateful for what you DO have.
Great or small, tangible or intangible, important or unimportant in the grand scheme of things, it is absolutely necessary that you have gratitude.
There are times gratitude feels hard. When you are in a depression, or fighting with someone, or struggling to make ends meet, or simply unhappy, it is difficult to feel and express gratitude. When you read the news about unfair practices, wars, hatred, violence and inequality, despite what you are grateful for having it can be difficult to express gratitude.
Nevertheless, gratitude is vastly important to manifesting and acquiring things in your life. If you are ungrateful for what you have, getting more or different things will be difficult at best.
But worse than that, if you are ungrateful for what you have already, you take no joy in getting the things you believe that you want or desire. And if they do not make you happy, then what is the point?
I suspect that some of these business and government leaders we are always reading about are deeply unhappy. They take and take and take, and show no gratitude for what they have, only greed…and they are constantly seeking to take and have more, and worse, to deny others what they themselves want and have and want more of. What reason could there be for this, if not that they are unhappy, ungrateful, and want more in the belief it will make them happy?
And they will fall. Because when you are ungrateful, and you are greedy, you will never manage to be happy. You will never be content or satisfied, and you will create more unhappiness and discontent.
I have stated before that the thing people generally want most is happiness. What we want from our lives is contentment, happiness, joy, pleasure. We want to be happy as often as we can be. Nearly everything we do is intended to bring more happiness into our lives.
We work our jobs to earn money to have things that will make us happy. We enter into relationships to make ourselves happy. We find and spend time with friends to make ourselves happy. We spend money on toys to bring happiness to ourselves and others. We participate in activities to make ourselves happy.
The things we consciously do we do to make ourselves happy. But if we are not grateful for the things we have, we will not be happy with the things we do. If we are ungrateful for the things we buy with our money, we will be unhappy with those things. If we are ungrateful for the relationships we have, we will be unhappy with them. If we are ungrateful for our friends, we will be unhappy spending time with them. And so on and so forth.
Even when we have difficulty in feeling gratitude, we need to work on finding things to be grateful for. Gratitude allows us to not only appreciate what we have, but to appreciate what we gain. Gratitude leads to happiness.
No one likes that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you are discontent, unhappy, and ungrateful. But that sense of peace, that inner happiness that comes of contentment and gratitude is, I believe, what we all are truly striving for. And it is why we choose to walk the paths of our own choosing.
This is why gratitude is so important to Pathwalking. If Pathwalking is about choosing my own path in life, and making my way as I would want, then is it imperative that I be grateful for what I already have, if I want more of it. The ultimate goal is to be happy.
Overly-simple? Perhaps. But when I boil every miniscule aspect of this philosophy down to its ultimate core, happiness continues to be the end point I reach. Perhaps it is time to approach something in life from a more simple perspective. Does EVERYTHING have to be complicated? I think no.
If you have not been showing gratitude often enough recently, I would like to challenge you to this: Every day, for a week, find five things to be grateful for, and write them down. Don’t just think of them – FEEL the gratitude for them. I have done this, and found that the practice brings more gratitude, and that in turn brings more contentment in my life.
Gratitude is a necessary element of life, and as such tremendously important to Pathwalking. What are you grateful for?
This is the eighty-ninth entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.