There are a lot of influential people out there who speak on the importance of having gratitude. I think the first person who I remember hearing this from is Oprah, way back when she was encouraging her audience to keep gratitude journals. I was just a kid then, and the message didn't really resonate with me, but it never really went away, either. Now that I am a bona fide adult—bought and sold cars, property, got married, had a baby, read books for fun, not just for homework, etc.—I think I finally have gotten a hold of this whole gratitude phenomena, thanks to the help of a spiritual teacher with whom I have recently become familiar.
She likened the importance of having gratitude to this: You know the person in your life who is always complaining? The person who will always find fault in what you are doing and the person who has an undeniable knack for pointing out the one imperfection in a sea of perfection? Well, you don't want to be that person to God... or The Universe, Yah Weh or what have you.
BING! I don't know about you, but when I heard this a light bulb went off for me. I pride myself on NOT being the nagging wife, the complaining coworker and the Debbie Downer to my friends. But what about when I sit down to pray at night to get right with my maker? Am I only praying when there's a problem? Am I thanking God for everything that is right in my life?
For having 10 fingers, 10 toes, curly eyelashes and a gorgeous smile (thanks to two years of braces)? Or, am I saying, God, why is my boss such a jerk? Why the heck was I sitting in traffic AGAIN? Oh, God, why did "this" or "that" go wrong?
We all know (or maybe some of us don't), but I know for sure that if you do that to people, they will just want to do less for you and they are less likely to go out of their way to please you. When you do that to people, they tend to just "put up" with you, but they are certainly not pleased with you. So I wonder what happens if you are ungrateful to your Divine Creator?
Um, I don't know for sure and I don't want to find out! When my teacher explained the importance of having gratitude in this way, it suddenly became crystal clear to me.
Instead of complaining about a boss being a jerk, we should all be thanking the good LORD for this extremely difficult person who was brought into our life to teach us patience, resilience, negotiation tactics and strategic thinking skills. You certainly can't develop those skills working with someone who always makes things easy for you.
In the absence of gratitude, we are leaving a lot of room for missed opportunities to grow, to become more self-aware and to, probably, receive many more blessings in our lives.
Therefore, with my newfound clarity of gratitude, I want to send a special thanks to everyone (friend and foe) and everything (good and bad) that I have ever come across in life, period. Thank you. Thank you for the funk. Thank you for letting me be myself.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.