There is this transformation of worldly understanding when you see the world through the eyes of others.
Somewhere in my whirling mind, I feel as if I have heard the phrase “gratitude is hard to come by”. However, after consulting my mom and google, it seems that what I thought was a phrase is not a phrase at all; the phrase is “good help is hard to come by”, which I feel that phrase and its origins can and should be cross-examined to death. Still, this part in my brain keeps coming back to gratitude being hard to come by.
The reason I feel this way is because gratitude is hard to come by. I am not focusing on those around me when I say this, although I am sure everyone feels somewhere inside of them that they would like to be thanked more for the efforts they put in on a daily level. Instead, gratitude is so hard to come by within ourselves. It’s hard to put oneself out of their own bubble. To see life in this way where we are not in the center. I mean it when I say it’s hard. It doesn’t help that the reason behind it being so hard is difficult in itself to swallow. There are different hardships that different people don’t have to face. There are people who have to deal with a more complicated life than you and I. I think that can be hard for many people to accept, especially when they themselves don’t see their life being lived in some ivory tower. Yet, even though life is not always the best, it can be good to see a little light in the dark. All of this is why I feel that everyone should write a journal for moments when they feel gratitude, a gratitude journal, if you will.
So if you do want to start a gratitude journal, then here is what I would envision it looking like, but you can do with it what you will. At the beginning of the day, I would write down something that you are thankful for. It can be shelter, a good meal last night, or that you have the ability to go surfing. This starts the day off with gratitude. From there, you can take the journal wherever you go throughout the day and if something stands out to you, write it down. Now it can be easy to go overboard and underboard with this process. You could fill an entire journal out before a day is down, or you take years to fill one out. If you are the type to go overboard, limit yourself to three to five entries a day, and if you are the type that doesn’t write a lot or struggle to see gratitude in their world, then try your best to get to three entries a day. At the end of the day, think about your favorite moment that happened. It doesn’t have to be solely based on gratitude, but if you keep doing the entries, then you might discover that your favorite moment of the day has to deal with bringing goodness to others or goodness being given to you. It can cause that shift in seeing the world outside your bubble. Also, this is not to say that you can’t have bad days, and sometimes it might be hard to be thankful for anything at all. In those moments, it’s up to you how you want to go about it, and either way is understandable, yet if you decide to keep writing about things you are grateful for, it could make your day better. This is not to say that it will, but it very much could.
I want to point out that being focused on moments of grace and gratitude doesn’t mean that you should not like change or that life’s status quo shouldn’t change just because there are things that people should operate. You can have gratitude and still advocate for change. I also want to mention that seeing life in this way can also be hard on your heart. It can be hard to step back and see where there is suffering around you. It’s hard and may even make you feel guilty. With this stated, just because something is hard on your heart does not mean it’s terrible; it opens up empathy. We most certainly need more empathy in the world. As far as feeling guilty goes, it’s not that feeling guilty is inherently good or bad, but it’s what you do with that potential guilt. Hopefully, it’s to make the world a better place because you can stand not trying.
I think the goal of such a journal is to open up to a more worldly understanding of the goodness and hardships of life.
Keeping a gratitude journal is going to change how one may see the world, and it may give you hope for a better future. When you see moments of goodness and kindness in others, when you see families grow and change, when you feel laughter from within, you get to feel more enriched and more full. The world is this messy, shifting amalgamation of the worst and the best of humanity, and it’s easy to let nothing positive come by, but when you are trying to make a change, and you are fighting for something better, seeing good moments that you are thankful for will only make you stronger.