Now are you grateful?

‘An ungrateful man is like a hog under a tree eating acorns, but never looking up to see where they come from’

Timothy Dexter

 

If I were to ask you for 5 things right now that you wish you didn’t have in your life or 5 things that annoy you, I strongly suspect you’d be able to let me know in an instant.  Yet, if I were to ask for the same 5 things that you were thankful for, you’d struggle for a good few minutes on the 3rd or 5th one?

Forgive me if I presume too much, but I do not pass judgment on you or people in general, I guess I just know how I work, as a human.

A tested life

So often, I’ve gotten upset or struggled with a situation which appears to have prevented me from doing what I really wanted to do. I’ve gotten mad, angry even, because what I want doesn’t appear to be happening when I want it to! I want it so badly that when it doesn’t come quick enough, I get it into my head and think ‘it’s never going to happen’.  It goes like that for a few days, until I remember why it’s not happening yet; I remember I’m being ungrateful….again!

You see, it’s a test. The Universe is testing me, testing my patience, my belief and most of all my faith.  It knows I can tend towards the ‘spoilt brat’ side to my personality, always thinking ‘why me?’ or ‘why not now?’  It waits, waiting for me to open my eyes again, really see what’s happening and stop with all the flapping and craziness.

Why’s it so hard?

When you’re ungrateful for something, whether it’s a job, a relationship, money worries or other things deemed to be important in our lives, we tend to gravitate towards what we don’t have rather than looking at what we do have.

Take for example your job. This is a big one for me because I regularly go in circles on this subject.  As you know (or you may not because you are new to this) I’ve been writing for a year or so. I started The Daily Grow because I wanted more out of my life; I wanted to give back and with it would come a sense of freedom and contribution. Yet, it doesn’t pay my rent (yet), so after quitting my job last year I had to find some other way of making sure I had a roof over my head until the big bucks started pouring in.

What did I do?

I got a job as a cleaner, a cleaner working 5 nights a week cleaning 3 hours at a time. Now six months down the line, I am still doing that darn job, with little change (or so I think) to my circumstances.  I get engrossed in what’s not working out i.e. I have to go in, clean toilets and other such gross stuff for minimum wage, that I lose sight of the very fact that:

a) I get to only work at a job I really don’t like for 3 hours a day!

b) I get paid weekly so I can pay my rent/bills and eat

c) I get to spend the rest of the day writing, connecting and generally doing the hell I want!

When I look at it like this, I don’t feel so ungrateful anymore I feel pretty lucky!  Yet the same old feelings rise up after a little while, because I want something else and I want it now!

It’s hard to be grateful, but then again what something that’s worth having comes easy? If it came easy would I really want it? Would I be grateful for that? I doubt it.  So when it’s hard, I have to make sure I am grateful for that, because when it does happen I’ll value it a whole lot more!  You can believe me on that one!

How to be grateful even though it’s easy to be ungrateful…

Look at what you have today.  You have a home.  A job (presumably).  Money. Water and food to eat.  OK, so you have all that, but perhaps you don’t have too much of it. Perhaps you live in a pokey flat, work at a job that’s pretty dull, earning money that doesn’t give you any money after you’ve paid for everything and the food you eat is pretty basic.

Right. That sounds pretty dire.  But what if you didn’t have a home, you were sleeping rough. Imagine you didn’t have a job, because you didn’t have a home so you couldn’t get one if you wanted one.  What if because you didn’t have a job or a home, you then couldn’t afford to eat properly. You’d spend days scrambling through dustbins or begging on the street for something, anything, to keep you going?   Imagine that….

Now look at your hands.  Are they clean? Do they have blisters, sun burn or dirt so ingrained that you’d never be able to wash them clean?  Take a good look. Imagine working so hard trying to find food, shelter or water that you’d dig for it. Or spending hours trying to prise open a rusty old can of beans with your bare hands, just so you can finally eat. Or sleeping so rough on the streets everywhere you slept you were in fear for your life.

Or you were held somewhere against your own will. Imagine your freedom taken away from you, having to ask if you could go to the toilet or even asking if you could sleep.

You are lucky, you can go wherever you please. See who you want and make choices every day that affect your life. Yet there are literally thousands of people forced into labour or the sex trade existing for someone else’s needs, with no life, or way out.

Imagine that….

Now are you grateful?

Our lives are full of things to be grateful about, yet the very things some people in this world would crave for such as freedom, food, water, shelter or money we take for granted every single day.   We are so used to getting what we want; to the point where we don’t even appreciate the very fact that what we are getting so many others would literally die to have.

That’s how I become grateful again.

 

What about you?

 

Lots of love

 

Paula x

I’d love for you to sign up for daily growth spurts, all you need to do is head on over to the sign up form at the top right of this page! Easy!  

 

Image source  via Flickr Gammaman

6 Comments

  • Vivian Navarro

    Reply Reply June 24, 2014

    Thank you again! You have a special talent for saying things that make so much sense without the holier than thou attitude. Pray this talent, grace, character will not be lost in your walk through life.

    • Paula

      Reply Reply June 25, 2014

      Hey Vivian, I am glad you think it makes sense. I tend to just say it how it is, as I experience it. I am not perfect, but I know that we all suffer with certain things. Be it lack of love, gratitude or whatever. It’s normal so why would I think I was any better :) Thank you for your prayer Vivian, what a wonderful lady you are. Bless you. Lovely to hear from you.

  • Jon Day

    Reply Reply June 26, 2014

    That’s another great read Paula. I woke up this am in my usual bad mood but you have turned that around and I now feel ready to face the day. Everytime I feel negative today, and that will be quite often, I will hold that thought and remember I’m not trawling through the dustbins for food or thinking about where I’ll be sleeping.

    • Paula

      Reply Reply June 26, 2014

      Oh thanks Jon. I am glad it turned your day around. It’s so easy to slip back into ‘old’ habits I know for sure! There are so many people worse off, yet they do what they need to do to survive. Keep that head up Jon and thanks for commenting :)

  • Jan

    Reply Reply June 30, 2014

    Hey Paula, you certainly know how to hit the nail on the head. It is so easy to slip into thinking about lack than it is to remain positive and remembering how much we have. Yes we do often take it all for granted. I guess there is a balance to be had between striving for more and yet still being grateful for what we already have. There is truly enough abundance in the world that we should all be thriving and prospering, but due to circumstances created by humans, we sometimes believe there is not enough ton go round. Then again if we can’t be grateful for what we already have, then how is getting more going to make us anymore grateful? I’m with you on this, about how being ungrateful creates more to be ungrateful about, whereas being grateful attracts more to be grateful for.

    • Paula

      Reply Reply June 30, 2014

      Absolutely Jan! What great and wonderful insight you have. You hit the nail on the head too! I think from our own choices and learning we know now that to be grateful is a truly free-ing gift. Thank you

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