Gratitude or selfishness?
When I first encountered the idea of a gratitude diary, I was discountenanced by feeling grateful for things like . . . well, my coffee. I suspected greed, not gratitude.
Once I started using a diary, then I realised that I was often thankful for the meals I had had that day. I am grateful for a homemade soup, for example. but am I grateful just because I could have been out all day and been subjected to junk food? Partly. Yet when I feel grateful for soup, I never simultaneously think of the disgusting fare served up as food up-and-down the arterial transport spokes. I am think of much I appreciate a well made home made soup. I experience pleasure not gluttony.
In short, I experience me.
This still seems selfish, doesn’t it? But it is my job to see me. It is my job to appreciate who I am.
The funny thing is that we cannot see who we are, or appreciate who we, are except in the eyes of the world. It is when I reach out to some thing I value and treasure, when I recognize what is good in the world, that I recognize the good in me.
Khalil Gibran talks of adventuring a path and meeting the soul. Not a soul. The soul.
David Whyte talks of the universe taking its ball home too, when we get up and take our ball home. He points out that universe is not punishing us. It is just that without “the faculties of attention, there is nothing to be found.”
We are what we are grateful for
We are what we are grateful for. It’s a simple as that. When we remind ourselves of what we truly appreciate, we remind ourselves of ourselves. We are validated. We belong.
But because we are simple folk and all these word feel like mental contortions, we can listen rather to the words of Mr Chips’ fellow teacher.
“I found that when I stopped judging myself harshly, the world became kinder to me. Remember I told you once, go out, and look around the world. Do that now. Only this time, let the world look at you. And the difference, I assure you, the world will like what it sees.”