Originally posted on Apr 26, 2022
Today I am going to talk about the power of Gratitude. We all know the importance of gratitude. Having a sense of gratitude and expressing it can lift our spirit, motivate us, and enable us to inspire each other. But have you thought about why it is so powerful, and what exactly it can do?
Generally speaking, gratitude is an expression of appreciation for or response to what's been given to you, either tangibly or intangibly such as gifts, kindness from others, good health, good relationship, and personal achievement.
But the gratitude that I learned over the years is not just an appreciation for good things or fortune that happened to you but an appreciation for everything including things that are completely opposite: the situation that is less than ideal or what could have been better. It may sound odd or illogical but that’s the key to understand the power of gratitude and I’m so happy sharing this with you.
Gratitude changes your past
First, let me ask you this: if you are not particularly happy about your situation or if something unfortunate happened to you that you don't feel appreciative, why is that so? According to Benjamin Hardy, the psychologist and the author of book “Be Your Future Self Now”, that’s because first, you are focusing on the “gap” where things didn't go as well as they could have (I wish I was smarter or I wish I could have gotten a better job...), and second, that’s how you remember it.
Many experts say the same thing “Your past is not objective. Rather, your past is entirely subjective.” and I tend to agree with them. It's a meaning. Good or bad. Happy or sad. You are the person who interpret the meaning of your experiences.
The key to the practice of interpreting the past events currently labeled as “negative” is rewriting your memory by entirely focusing on the gain, not on the loss that occurred. It's a work of re-measuring yourself against where you had started not against your goals, as well as re-measuring the events by the lessons you learned, and new or different viewpoints you have discovered.
This process invites you to go deeper to find perspectives that you might not have noticed otherwise and help you see the past event through a different lens and overwrite your memory entirely with a positive outlook. Suddenly, you are no longer the victim of the unfortunate event. It allows you to feel a deeper sense of appreciation of what happened. Even the most painful experience can, over the time, be transformed into an inspiration and a powerful agent that can have a positive impact in your life as you move forward into the future. So that’s no.1 the reason why Gratitude is so powerful. for the power of gratitude. You get to be a designer of your past.
Gratitude is the first line of defense against fear or uncertainty
Yet, life is full of the unknown and expressing gratitude isn’t always easy. Things could change at any moment. Gains and losses, fortune and misfortune,… they are all intertwined in life.
But gratitude is actually the first line of defense against fear or uncertainty in life. Remember, gratitude shouldn’t be conditional, instead, it is simply a way of living based on the understanding that “what is today, will not always be”. Everything evolves and passes. Whatever emotion or thoughts you are experiencing, positive or negative, it will pass.
Practicing gratitude helps us stay with the present moment and observe our emotions without judgment, as opposed to getting caught up in the negative thoughts one after another and worrying about the future. It helps us take each moment and each day as it comes. That’s no. 2: the power of gratitude. It is the first line of defense against fear or uncertainty.
Gratitude will transform your future
So when you feel genuinely grateful, you no longer need to prove yourself to others or try so hard to “become” who you want to become. You don't need to compare yourself with others. This is extremely difficult to do. I am totally aware of competitive nature of myself and it’s hard not to measure myself with societal norm or standard. But I realize, at the same time, that practicing gratitude will help minimize that kind of needs, need to be validated. Gratitude will allow us to feel content and to feel confident standing independently.
This is my favorite quote from Lao Tzu. “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
When gratitude permeates our way of being, our entire outlook on life changes. Our interaction with other people changes. It will motivate us to continue to be a positive influence, and because of that, our future path may even change. It allows us to proactively create the future that we desire. That’s reason no.3 for the power of gratitude: Just as it let us be the designer of the past, we can become the designer of the future.
At the of the day, expressing gratitude is pretty simple. It is a state of mind that we can practice in daily life by taking a few minutes in the morning or evening to think about how grateful you feel about life, family, friends, small progress that you made, the beauty of the nature, or the conversation that you had with friends… whatever they might be, I recommend to say them aloud. You will be surprised to find the difference it will make and optimism that it will bring to your life and that of others. Yeah, that’s the power of gratitude.