It’s easy to be swept up in the stresses of day to day life. The pressure of financial troubles, relationships and keeping healthy can consume us, so that we forget to be grateful for what we have.
But gratitude is one of the key elements that can drastically improve your life. Not only does gratitude ground you and slow down your life so that you can think clearer, and therefore make better decisions, but it also helps you to actually enjoy what you’re working towards.
This means that you’re more likely to get to work on your goals.
Not only that, but gratitude can actually help you make peace with yourself and help you come to love yourself. For those struggling with self-loathing, this is the place to start your journey to self-love.
Gratitude is a Matter of Perspective
You’ve probably heard the phrase “every day is a gift” before, but as cliche as it might sound, it’s absolutely true.
Not to be morbid, but it’s a reality of the world that there is suffering and death happening every day. However, the extent of that suffering in how it affects us emotionally is mainly down to what meaning we attach to it.
In other words, what our perspective on that suffering is.
One person might consider being swallowed by bills and financial troubles to be a bad life, and not worth being grateful for. But ask someone who doesn’t have a home to pay off, or a job to generate any income, and that position might genuinely be enviable.
If you look for it, there’s always something to be grateful for. This doesn’t mean you should invalidate any pain you might be experiencing; more it means that you should look for the good whenever you can.
Sometimes just being grateful for having another day, another opportunity to turn things around, can really help to change your perspective.
Remove the Conditions for “Success”
Imagine that if, upon waking up every day, your only criteria for being happy was that you were able to get your morning cup of coffee.
What would your life be like without having to reach any other conditions or objectives in order to allow yourself to be happy?
The interesting thing about happiness is that we often create barriers that stop us from achieving it. Even when wealthy people reach their goal of making a certain amount of money each year, there’s always the next goal.
Think about it. Do you know anyone in your life that says “I’ll be happy when I’m making <x dollars> per year?”
Do you have areas of your life where you’re not allowed to be happy until you’ve achieved it? Are you not allowed to feel confident until you’ve finished your studies? Are you not allowed to feel sexy until you’ve reached a goal weight?
While it might seem that the condition (losing weight/making money/etc) is needed before the emotion, in truth it’s the emotion that will help you to attain the condition. Your thoughts and feelings influence your actions, after all.
By stressing less, clearing your mind and finding happiness first, you will be far more able to do well in the areas you’re striving for.
This is where gratitude comes in. When you’re grateful for what you have, and eager for more (rather than needing more to be happy), you’ll find yourself in the ideal position of having the clarity, energy and happiness as fuel towards achieving your goals, without any of the setbacks of stress, doubt and unhappiness.
Your Negative Experiences Have Turned You into Who You are Today
We all go through unwanted or negative experiences in life.
Sometimes these can be quite severe, such as loss, grief and trauma. These issues can take a good amount of time and professional help to learn how to move through them with forgiveness and healing.
But for most negative experiences, however uncomfortable or painful they can be in the moment, they merely exist in the back of our minds as past evidence of failure and dissatisfaction.
However, these experiences don’t have to have this meaning attached to them. What these past events mean to you is only subject to your perspective.
Negative experiences are a part of what makes you grow. They are a part of life for every living creature. Learning to accept them as important to the process, and even learning to find the value in them, will reduce their negative impact substantially.
If you struggle to do this in your own life, merely being grateful that you survived the experience can be a start. From there, you can ask yourself how you grew stronger, or learned something, from going through it.
Most often it’s the tough times that test your resolve and in many ways, end up defining who you are. When you make it through these times, you can change the meaning they have from being something negative, to something that helped you become stronger.
Being grateful has a large part to do with this. Don’t dwell on past experiences, as there isn’t anything you can do to change them. The past is the past.
Instead, focus on how you can learn from them so that they never happen again, and let them go.
Gratitude for the experience will help you move on.
Be Grateful for Who You Are
The last area of gratitude is focused inwards.
Finding gratitude for your own qualities, both physical, mental and emotional, can bring far more energy to your life than you might realise. Your body will flow more easily as you find good reasons for being alive, for doing what you love, and for being who you are.
Being grateful naturally leads you to love who you are. We can’t speak for everyone, but in general it’s rare for negative people to love themselves (except in a conceited manner), due to the fact that they can only see the worst in themselves and the others arounds them.
If you are genuine about loving yourself for the right reasons, you will find much of your stress about your own shortcomings is lifted, and self-love will come.
For those struggling with self-esteem issues, this is one of the best places to start for the self-love process.
In conclusion, the more you look at life with a grateful perspective, the more you’ll be able to feel happier in the moment.
With a more positive outlook, you will love yourself more with each passing day, and this will only compound and energise your efforts towards changing your life for the better.