In the discussion this week of friends we need to say goodbye to – such as Rumination, Worry, and Judgement/Self-Criticism – and friends we need to watch – such as our two-faced Storyteller – we are finally full circle to friends we want to invite in, keep and cultivate. While there are a number of good friends who have been recommended (Acceptance, Acknowledgement, Trust and Allowance to name a few), I am going to talk about the one who should be our very best friend. Gratitude is one of those friends that we tend to overlook, and yet is our true savior and can most directly influence the quality of our life.
There is so much that we take for granted for which we could be giving thanks. It is often not until things are taken away that we fully realize their benefit. For example, I didn’t fully appreciate my corporate job with steady paycheck until it was gone. Then, there are those things we take for granted that are a part of our every day existence, such as a roof over our head (for most of us), food on the table, the computer or tablet you’re reading this blog on, and perhaps a car or other mode of transportation. Also, there are simple things for which to appreciate such as our eyesight, our ability to walk, our ability to hear, taste, smell, etc.
So there are all these things going on in our life all the time for which we have to be thankful. There are also a multitude of things happening for which we would most certainly NOT consider giving thanks. We’re stuck in a traffic jam, we miss our flight, our relationship ends.
We can look back years later and see how the break up with the one we thought was the love of our life was a blessing in disguise, or how losing the job led us to something even better. Most things in life, when we look back, have been gifts. They just don’t appear to be so at the time.
Granted, there are times we can see no silver lining. I know there are those who will argue that there are things that have happened that are simply awful. The loss of a child or a pet, or some other inconceivable event that is tragic.
I tend to believe that life is like a giant colorful tapestry and we can’t always see when one string is pulled how that affects the big picture. The woman who started Mothers Against Drunk Driving would not have been courting Gratitude as a friend, however there are many who owe her a debt of gratitude for saving countless others. In times like this we simply have to have trust and do the best we can.
I don’t mean to get all Polyanna on you, although I generally tend to be more PollyAnna than not. My point here is that when we begin to turn our attention to looking for the things for which to be grateful, we begin to appreciate our lives so much more. Inevitably it will seem as if more and more good begins to happen.
So, of all the friends you might have living in your head or taking up the rooms of your mind, Gratitude is the one I would encourage to keep the closest and entertain as your very best friend. What are you grateful for?