I’ve always been skeptical of the claims about practicing gratitude. Don’t get me wrong, I’m 100% in favor of being grateful.
In fact, this article is about the things most of us take for granted and should be more appreciative of. But recent research has shown that practicing gratitude will not make you less depressed or anxious.1Source: Science Daily
It’s a good reminder that most self-help advice on the internet is superficial. While I won’t claim gratitude will make you happier, it will give you perspective.
Look at gratitude as a mindset or habit and not some kind of magical self-help tool. Gratitude is not just something we can use to feel better the same way we use caffeine when we’re tired.
To me, gratitude is a lifestyle. It’s something I feel every day. Something I keep in the back of my mind with everything I do. Here are five of those things I aim to be grateful for every day.
These are the things I tend to take for granted. So I want to remind myself of them as much as I can.
When you don’t have it, life sucks. When you do have it, you never think about it. This is what makes it so hard to be grateful for your health.
In 2020, I contracted a stomach virus that made me very sick for two weeks. After I recovered, my stomach still felt off.
About three months later, I got another stomach bug and was sick again for two weeks. Then, the problems started. I dealt with constant stomach problems for nearly 18 months.
I eventually ended up with a very capable internist who diagnosed me with post-infectious IBS. She said it was not serious and that my gut took a huge hit twice in a short amount of time. And that it wasn’t functioning properly.
She prescribed me Macrogol and magnesium oxide, two simple things that stimulate bowel movement. Within one week, my problems disappeared. It was also partly mental because I was no longer worried it could be something serious.
Sometimes there are simple solutions to our health problems. How often did you feel sick and then wake up great the next day after a good night’s sleep? Sometimes, we have to deal with more serious problems that take longer to heal.
What matters is that we never take our health for granted and put it first among our priorities. Life sucks when you’re not feeling okay.
As an introvert, I enjoy being alone for hours or even days. But I also need to be around my family and good friends. That’s a given for many of us.
In addition to that, it’s also wonderful to connect with good people who are not in that inner circle. Think of former co-workers, people you went to college with, or folks who were on your sports team.
It’s great to just catch up with those people and spend time. Every once in a while I also enjoy speaking to other entrepreneurs or creators who are on a mission to build something.
I appreciate those interactions because they energize you. You don’t need to get something out of every interaction with someone. When you connect with others without an agenda, you just spend time, and that’s often good enough.
This is the most important thing. Imagine what your life would be like if you didn’t have the freedom to be yourself.
This is something that everyone in the free world should be grateful for every single day. For me, this is especially relevant. My family originally comes from an unfree country and fled to The Netherlands during a war.
You probably won’t believe me, but not a day goes by without me appreciating freedom. This is why I’m so committed and dedicated to working hard.
I want to keep making a contribution. I want to pay my taxes. I want to do good. Why? Because freedom is the best thing in the world. All the other problems we have are nothing as long as we’re free.
Wow. Imagine if there was no internet. Would you have your job? I certainly wouldn’t.
Without the internet, I probably would be stuck with a passive mindset and I certainly wouldn’t be a writer. I grew up in an environment without books and people who were educated.
I learned about self-improvement online. That’s how I got started with reading more books. When I was 16, I learned about the Time 100 novels of all time online.
I got so excited I read about 20 books off that list during the next two years. I stopped reading for a while after that. But in my twenties, I started reading more non-fiction books. Guess how I got inspired? By the lists I read on the internet.
I’m truly grateful I was in my formative years when the internet started to take off.
What I’m about to tell you sounds a bit harsh. And to be honest, it is. But when I walk on the street, I often think, “I’m glad I’m not that guy.”
I don’t mean that in an ego-centric way as in, I’m better than that person. I don’t like that way of thinking. I’m simply grateful that I’m myself and not anyone else. I just don’t want to be anyone other than myself.
Okay, that’s not true. I would like to be Lebron James. But that’s about it. I really like being myself. Especially because that’s all I have.
There’s no point in wanting to be someone else because you only have yourself. It’s not like you have the option to be someone else. And you have to deal with that for the rest of your life.
It’s better to be happy that you are you.