Have you lived a life that deserves gratitude from others?
“No”. No matter how many ways I look back on the various periods of my life I always come to the same conclusion: I have not lived a life that deserves gratitude from others. I have not dedicated myself to any just or moral causes; I have not made any attempts to improve our society, our environment or our world; and I have not inspired those around me to pursue commendable acts. Compared to some of the more admirable, righteous and selfless greats of our world I have not done anything that deserves gratitude from others.
However, after searching for some significant and worthy act I realized I was subconsciously doing two things:
- I was trying to summarize my life into one element, and
- I was being very judgmental and critical of myself
By trying to evaluate my life as one piece, without beginning, middle or end, I eliminated the idea of being present. Being aware in the moment is key to feeling and sharing gratitude, and by removing my sense of presence I also removed my ability to feel grateful. Moreover, my judgmental assessment completely dismissed any chance for acceptance; acceptance not only allows us to feel at peace with the things that we cannot change or control, but to also appreciate what has taken place, good or bad.
Presence and acceptance are important and necessary aspects to feeling gratitude, and both can be developed and refined through meditation. By practicing our awareness and being non-judgmental we expand our capacity for gratitude.
After trying to apply a sense of presence and acceptance to my evaluation of my life I still came to a similar conclusion: I do not believe that I have lived a life that deserves gratitude from others. That said, I can honestly say that I feel more grateful for the people around me, the privileges I have been afforded, and the life that I have. And I know that feeling grateful more regularly is the first step to leading a life that merits gratitude from others.
By Andrew Persaud