- It’s easy to get down on ourselves and feel a little unlucky or unfortunate; but the reality is, we all have something to be grateful for.
- Take, for example, your very existence! The chances of you being, well, you are slim to none; therefore, you should celebrate even being alive.
- It’s equally important you practice gratitude—in other words, you should take some time to think about what you’re grateful for and show your appreciation.
- First, try reflecting at the end of every day: count your fortunes, and then show your gratitude to those who make a difference in your life.
- Also, do what you can to stay grounded when you’re feeling less than fortunate; put everything into perspective and remind yourself it could always be worse.
- Finally, give back: help out the less fortunate and perform simple acts of kindness to have a positive impact on the world around you.
Growing up, my family was well off. We lived in a beautiful house near the lake, had a big yard fit with our own swing set and soccer field, and drove around in a big black Escalade. Most kids would probably jump at the chance to invite their friends over and show off these luxuries. But I didn’t. I was embarrassed. I didn’t like having what a lot of others didn’t. And I just wanted to be like everybody else.
Looking back, I still empathize with the little girl who just didn’t want to be different. But more so, I think about the gratitude that I didn’t and that I should have had. How fortunate I was to have a roof over my head, at all. How fortunate I was to have electricity and heat, television and internet. How fortunate I was to be cared for so deeply by a loving family.
Today, I recognize my fortunes. My life is a little different today, but I still have a place to call home and a family to love. So, anytime I’m feeling unlucky or less than fortunate, I just put my life back into perspective again. And I remind myself to practice gratitude.
Gratitude: A Little Perspective
Whoever you are, there is something to be grateful for today. Not buying it? Consider life itself. Dr. Ali Binazir, in a Harvard blog entry, discussed just how tiny your chances are of existing. Scientists calculated this probability—of you existing as you do today—to be about one in 400 trillion [4x10^(14)]. I know, that is a crazy equation. Four hundred trillion alone makes me feel pretty special. Binazir further highlights the phenomenon that is our very existence with this comparison:
“Imagine there was one life preserver thrown somewhere in some ocean and there is exactly one turtle in all of these oceans, swimming underwater somewhere. The probability that you came about and exist today is the same as that turtle sticking its head out of the water… in the middle of that life preserver.”
Feel It, Show It
Yeah, I think it’s safe to say you are incredibly lucky to be alive and your gratitude should start there. But maybe you have trouble comprehending or acknowledging your fortunes. And this makes it difficult or near impossible for you to express gratitude. Here is my advice to you guys:
1) Reflect at the end of every day.
Life is so busy that we simply forget to acknowledge the positives in our day. So, make a bedtime ritual out of reflecting on everything good that the day brought you. Think about everything you’re grateful for and fortunate to have.
2) Put your gratitude on display.
Once you start counting your gratitudes, you can start putting that gratitude on display! Are you thankful for your loved ones? Tell them! Or better yet, show them. Do something that will make your loved one’s day or simply bring a smile to their face.
3) Stay grounded.
Anytime something bad or unfortunate happens, try to stay grounded. Put your life into perspective like we did earlier. For example, not getting that job promotion might feel like the end of the world, but at least you have a job! Be grateful for that.
4) Give back.
Finally, give back to those who are less fortunate: the homeless on the streets, the kids in foster homes, the pets at the pound. Our world could use a whole lot more giving, and your simple acts of kindness can go a long, long way.