Gratitude is the most potent antidote to the poison of sorrow. Developing gratitude doesn’t heal your wounds. The power of gratitude doesn’t allow you to violate the laws of the universe to travel back through time to undo transgressions.
Gratitude doesn’t reduce the emotional impact of a negative occurrence in your life. The power of gratitude is that it gets you to see the world from an unselfish perspective.
Developing Gratitude And The Analogy To Light
Gratitude isn’t the sunglasses that protect from bright light. Rather, it’s the neck which turns your head to look at something less damaging. This isn’t the same as ignoring a problem.
Ignoring the problem is like going inside and never facing the intense sunlight again. Instead, you remain an active participant in the world until the intensity of the light decreases.
Now if you’ve already got a sunburn, looking away from the sun won’t undue the damage. It won’t make it heal faster. It won’t even reduce the pain. But it will allow you to see that you have things other than the limb that suffered damage.
Pain brings focus. Often this is a positive but when you can’t focus on anything else and the accompanying misery, you are no longer living.
Your pain may be physical, mental or emotional. It may be permanently damaging; it may heal in a few weeks or it may heal instantly. The pain may be slight, mild or severe. Regardless of its type, duration or severity, gratitude works because it forces you to focus on something beyond than your own suffering.
Developing Gratitude Requires Focus
This is due to a universal rule. No type of matter can occupy the same space and time as another. Your thoughts, though you are unable to touch them, are a type of matter.
You think you’re holding many thoughts simultaneously, but you’re actually quickly switching your focus between them. You can only hold one thought at a time. This is the power of gratitude.
If you focus on something good, it’s impossible to you think about the bad. Your concentration and focus may waiver in doing so, but that’s alright.
What’s important is that you quickly regain your gratitude perspective. You quickly refocus on the constructive and positive forces in your life; Not on the destructive and negative agents.
Developing Gratitude Means Remembering What You Have
I can hear the objections. “What if there is nothing good in my life? My life is terrible and everything is painful to look at! How can this gratitude perspective work for me if my life is miserable?” To this unfortunate soul, I say one thing: You’re being selfish.
If you’re alive, then you’re part of a fantastic world. There’s so many things that make it wonderful. You’re just focusing on the wrong stuff.
Once in my life, things were getting bad. To combat my feelings of self-pity, I admired all the pretty girls around me. There are blind people in the world and I’m grateful that I get to enjoy this part of nature.
You might say, “That’s just eyesight! There’s nothing special about that!” Then you’re missing the point. Your eyesight, like all things in the world, is a privilege.
You aren’t promised eye-sight any more than you are promised a hot meal or a place to sleep at night. Even if you only have the clothing on your back, but grateful for that.
Developing Gratitude Makes You A Creator
Take unselfish action. When you add to the world, it’s impossible to focus on your own problems. If you elevate the world and the people in it, you have less time to wallow in self-pity.
Shaping the world makes you a creator. What you create is part of you, even if you do not possess it. You look forward forward to your life instead of that which brings you misery. In this way, you build something to feel grateful towards.
Gratitude changes your focus. This is necessary. Pain distracts us from the world, preventing us from acting purposefully. Obsession with sorrow causes paralysis.
It’s only through action that we move on and gain perspective. It’s not time alone that gets you past something. You need to do things that force you to focus on the better parts of life.
This is the gratitude formula. Switch your focus to something which brings you joy. If you have nothing, create something or build someone up.
Do the last step anyway. It dramatically decreases the time spent feeling sorry for yourself. The rest is up to you.