When there are eight billion people in the world, we have to learn how to put the practice of gratitude into place to create empathy for others.
If you are going through some troubling times, don’t try blaming others. Instead, think about how it feels to live in their circumstances rather than feeling sorry for yourself or getting angry at someone. You could think to yourself, “I’m having a tough time right now, but it’s not all that bad compared to someone else’s problems.”
A perfect example is my friend, Damo, who lost sight in both eyes at a young age. I was fortunate to meet Damo via the running community and hear his story firsthand. The poor bastard lost his sight in both eyes due to two separate accidents.
He understands that you can’t reverse time, so he focuses on the present. If I’m ever having a bad day, I use the perspective of picturing myself in Damo’s shoes. I often wonder what it would be like waking up each morning, and even jumping in the shower or eating breakfast, without being able to see. Being blind would be such a challenge. With that mental perspective, I realise my day isn’t that bad.
I’ve learned that if you give back somehow—whether through a charity, a deed for a friend, or simply being kind, reciprocity takes place and you receive one hundred times more opportunities for kindness than you could ever imagine. In my opinion, there’s an imbalance in the world right now. We have plenty of smart people, but we need a massive influx of kind people to override all the negative things happening in today’s society.
EVERYONE NEEDS SOME GRATITUDE IN THEIR LIFE
You can’t package gratitude and it’s definitely invaluable if you can offer it to those who need it. Everyone can apply gratitude in their life, but they can make a massive impact with little change. Whenever and wherever you can show kindness and assist others, you are helping them understand the true meaning of being grateful.
The beauty of this is that you can take action immediately. Here are a few things you can do today:
Write a list of three things every morning that explains what you’re grateful for. This action will start your day on a happy note; and remember, positivity is key and it rubs off on people.
Focus on the things you have and not on the things you think are missing in your life. This will make you grateful, and it will shift your thinking from scarcity mode to a growth mindset.
Be empathetic. Listen to those who are reaching out for help. Maybe you’ve gone through a situation like theirs and you can understand why they’re not in the best place right now. Your conversation may be the catalyst that saves them from doing anything reckless.
Watch what you say to others because it can trigger an angry response. This defeats your purpose of showing gratitude to others.
Understand you can’t reverse time. Acknowledge the lessons from the past that you can use to prevent that situation from happening again. This isn’t the easiest of tasks, but after enough repetition, you will feel grateful for how far you’ve come.
Life’s too short to be hating anyone, so why not spread more love and kindness? When you start treating everyone the same, no one will feel worthless. Why should the fake idolisation of celebrities who do nothing but work hard be treated differently than an everyday civilian? They’re both human beings. They both deserve to have gratitude shown to them.
GRATITUDE MAKES US HAPPY
When building our gratitude practice, we’re shifting our mental focus from things in jeopardy to what’s going well. After enough practice, we start taking better care of ourselves and, by nature, we can do the same for others. Plus, it feels good, and there’s a stronger reconnection with ourselves, intrinsically. The bottom line is that gratitude is the fastest way to change your definition of reality.
Altruism, selflessness, or whatever you want to call it, is an art. You can’t do something kind and expect a massive breakthrough to happen. It has to come as an act from your heart, and must be genuine; but, if you keep working on it as a primary trait, then it grows on you. It helps build your character, and you never know whose life you’ll save. Hell, it might even be your own.
So, tell me what you’re grateful for.