It is easy to get caught up in the everyday chaos that life can bring and it can cause us to become frustrated or jaded. When this happens, we miss out on all the opportunities that the world is presenting us. The joys, the lessons, the laughter, and blessings.
“The world does not owe you anything.” I had a mentor and friend, explain to me. When times are hard, or life presents us with road blocks, we so often think, “Why me? Why now?” The victim mindset is an easy scapegoat and slippery downward path into a lot of negativity
YOU DON'T APPRECIATE SOMETHING, UNTIL IT'S GONE
This phrase is often thrown around, but it’s true, isn’t it? We never truly appreciate the things in our lives until they are no longer there. Often the simplest of things. I never thought of myself as an ungrateful person, but it wasn’t until this past year when I became diligent in my practice of gratitude.
Gratitude is the appreciation for what you have - to be mindful and enjoy the present. I touched on this before (see it here). I suffered hip/low back injuries that lead me to severe pain, leaving me borderline immobile. There was one point where I could barely get out of bed, stand, sit, lay – I couldn’t move without pain.
Everyday up until that moment I took for granted the blessing of movement. The simple act of getting out of bed in the morning. Walking to meet friends for a coffee, being able to exercise or demonstrate movements for clients – the ability to actually execute my job.
It was not until I no longer had pain free movement that I was grateful to get out of bed everyday.
I became grateful that I could show an exercise for my clients or sit at a table and enjoy coffee with friends. Gratitude extends far past the ability to move, to exercise, and to treat your body with care. Gratitude transcends into the appreciation of the company we keep. Your loved ones. These are the people who support, challenge, and engage with you.
Again, I have never thought of myself as an ungrateful person. I have always cherished and loved those in my inner circle – my Scooby Gang or my Breakfast Club. It wasn’t until the loss of my mother, where I truly realized I wasn’t grateful for the people I have in my life.
THE WORLD DOESN'T OWE YOU ANYTHING
After I got the news of my moms passing, I remember this: A July afternoon. Sitting at a wooden picnic table, staring blankly to the shrubs in front of me. Shocked and quite frankly, pissed off.
How could this happen to me? I thought. Really, Shane? How could this happen to you? You didn’t lose your life – your mom did. Yes. You lost your mom but this doesn’t affect only you. Someone else lost a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend, and a colleague. You are not an isolated case; to some degree or another, people experience loss every day.
Everything you hold in life is a gift – everything. The bed you sleep in, the people you laugh with, the body you have, the day you’re given. You’re not entitled to it.
This type of mindset is something I could not have had at the time. When you’re in the middle of an angry mob, all you can see is the chaos around you. You can’t see that the crowd will dwindle and peace will eventually come. You have to live it, experience it, and learn it. You can even appreciate everything you have. But as time goes on, it slips your mind and you become to lose touch with gratitude. This happened to me.
When I was younger I had went through a hernia, an appendix eruption, and a blood disorder – all before I was eighteen. You can bet that the moment the chaos cleared I was thankful for every day that was given to me. As the doctor appointments became seldom and the tests were almost non-existent, I began to take for granted the days I never had to go for routine check-ups. Not because I was ungrateful, but because my normal life never consisted of them anymore. I had no reminder to be thankful.
NOTHING IN THIS LIFE IS CERTAIN
The statement sounds a bit grim I know, but in a way it is also liberating. It opens your mind to all the little joys you hold. Cherish and be grateful for its presence in your life. We have our tough days of course, but the next time you don’t feel like working out – be grateful you have the ability to. Having breakfast, lunch or dinner – be grateful you have this available to you. You’re with loved ones – be grateful you have them laughing with you.
“I didn’t realize how much I took my body for granted before I experienced pain. Today, I am truly grateful to just walk without my knees aching, elbow flaring up, or even get up off the floor on my own.” I had a client express to me earlier this week.
It’s normal to let appreciation slip to the back of your mind now and then, but remind yourself to be appreciative of everything you hold in this life, in this moment.
Gratitude; it makes life fulfilling.