Gratitude

A few weeks back, I was in line at a fast-food restaurant. When I reached the drive-thru window, the cashier informed me that my order was paid for by the passenger ahead of me. When I looked up to give thanks, the driver had already pulled off.

Small gestures have long-term impacts, and we often take these acts of kindness for granted.

Many of us are familiar with the term pay it forward. So much of life is about giving, receiving, and repaying. It could be something as simple as holding the door open for another. There have been occasions when I have done so, and the individuals failed to visually or verbally acknowledge it. These rare instances don’t deter me from living a life of gratitude. It just reveals that some people are not comfortable with openly expressing it for one reason or another. Paying it forward does not come with conditions.

Just imagine a world without gratitude. There would be no meaningful relationships, medical science, technological advancements, nature’s architecture, or a plethora of other luxuries we experience.

Human happiness is dependent on gratitude. It enables us to receive and motivates us to return the kindness. Challenge yourself to pay it forward and watch how your life unfolds.

The Story I’m Telling Myself

There is a magic sentence resilient people have in common: “It’s the story I’m telling myself.” 

When something challenging happens to us, our brain, which is wired to protect us above all else, wants a story.

It understands story and narrative pattern and it says, “Give me a story so I can understand how to protect you.” And so….we make up these stories in our minds.

How can we be loved if we can’t let ourselves be seen (vulnerability).

We want it so bad, but we are so afraid to let ourselves be seen, and we’re so afraid to see people.

Vulnerability brings love, belonging, and joy.

The opposite of belonging is fitting in (acclimating). True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are.

Joy is the most vulnerable of all human emotions. We are so afraid that if we feel joy, something will come along and rip it away from us, and we will get sucker punched by pain, trauma, and loss. So in the midst of great things, we dress rehearse great tragedy.

Some people use vulnerability as a warning to start dress-rehearsing for bad things. Some of us use it as a reminder to be grateful.

Gratitude is the differentiator for joy. Which one will you choose?

Adapted from Brene Brown.
Graphic: raminnazer