May 6, 2018

GRATITUDE - Of Giving Thanks

Matabungkay Beach, Batangas, Philippines

There is no one stronger than a person whose heart is always filled with gratitude.

I found the quote above while doing my daily quotes reflection on Google. Yes, oftentimes, I search on quotes on Google about a specific topic - friendship, patience, happiness, grief, and this morning was all about giving thanks. A person who has the ability to count his/her blessings at the snap of a finger is someone who can find peace with it very easily. Having a grateful heart insures anyone of utmost happiness, for every time of sadness, you have this shining light of gratitude that will truly make you smile amidst all the darkness that surrounds you.

Whenever people talk about me or tell me something about myself, it warms my heart every single time I hear them talk about me being appreciative, me being thankful, or me being grateful. I think it's more than just being raised being taught about the importance of saying the magic words 'thank' and 'you'. It's not even the Filipino concept of 'utang na loob' or being indebted to someone for something. I personally think it all goes down to me being a very expressive person. But do you really have to say 'thank you' often? No. But do we really have to be thankful all the time? Yes!

How can we be a thankful person? Or at least how can we live this life having a thankful heart? Let me run through a list that I thought about:

Saying "Thank You" - This is probably the simplest yet the most important thing anyone should learn even from childhood. Saying thank you has been called one of the magic words especially taught when we were young. Thank You for being here today. Thank You for coming. Thank you for calling our office. We hear it endless times every single day. But do we really mean it? That is the question.

Counting Your Blessings - This is something a little deeper than the first one. Counting your blessings requires anybody to go through their days at the end of it or even at any moment of prayer, to recall and recount every single good thing that has happened to him/her. Not just the things that happened actually, but things that did not happen that we should also be thankful for, and trust me, you'll find joy in those. Thank you that I received my pay without any discrepancies. Thank you that the bus I rode earlier did not break down or worse, crashed. Thank you that my boss supported me on my presentation and did not point out the flaws in it. Counting your blessings also means counting the little happiness that can make up a bigger, larger happiness!

Recalling The Goods In Times Of Bad - This one is probably a lot harder. When you are in a brawl with someone or your friend just did something that brought you disappointment, this is a very good weapon for yourself or for your relationship to be fixed. I know, we do get blinded by someone's action and it's just so hard to find the good in it. But once you master this, you will not just find peace from that incident, but peace from within. 

When your younger sister broke your iPad which you have taken cared of for a long time, it's so hard to see how supportive she was during your last final exams. But try to look into it. It may not cover up the bad feelings you feel with that broken gadget, but it would at least compensate the loss. Besides, it might have been an accident. Or just take a look at when a friend said something bad about you to another person which he/she did repent on, I know sorry doesn't just compensate it all of a sudden, but think about the times when you were sick and how this friend helped you through it. Think about the calls that that friend made and the talks that your friend did whenever you needed it. or even the littlest supportive words that that friend did during those times. In the end, these acts would even made us think not just of the wrong things about our friend, but also the wrong things about ourselves.

In the end, it all boils down to the good that others do against the bad that they did. And having a thankful heart is like having a clear memory of the good things about those people and make them work as a weapon to find peace with something or someone.

Being Humble - Being humble doesn't just require being quiet or being low-key. For me, the easiest definition of humility is to not think that you are better than anyone else. Of course, we are all created unique, with our own sets of lusters and flaws. But anything about those differences just doesn't makes us any better than others. So anything that comes in between the better and the worse is something to be thankful for. Those differences can only be compensated by kindness and any act of kindness deserves gratitude. Stop being so competitive. Stop proving other people how great or better you are than anybody else. You are only better than yourself, that's the only concept that you should live by as you travel through life.

Ditching Too Much Pride - Pride kills, that's a fact! Thinking that you deserve everything and that you are entitled for the things that you have doesn't make you someone that is highly, it just makes you look like an ungrateful person. Yes, we do work hard for everything that we do and at times, we are even so blessed to receive  more than what we wanted. But that doesn't give us any entitlement for the things that we receive. Every time that security guard at the office greets us with a bright smile, say thank you and return that cheer. Never ever think that 'that's their job so they have to do it' because everyone has their bad days and for someone to rise up to that and offers you that good encouragement is being way beyond what he/she has to be.

Here is also where the 'utang na loob' or 'being indebted to' comes to play. We don't collect the good things that we do to people and shove it in their faces when a conflict occurs with that person. Kindness knows no limits and records. If a friend does know how to recognize the good (see upper bullet) then that friend is for keeps! But unfortunately, if that friend does not count the good, it is not your job to enumerate them in their faces. Because that will just make you look much worse. If you know you have done so much good to certain people and they do not have the heart of gratitude, the soul to give thanks, and a good and clear memory to recount all your kindness, I guess it's not bad to cut ties with those people because it's not that they are bad, it's not that they don't deserve you, but they're just not for keeps. As we age, people come and go but only a good few will stay. Not just really stay but will fight through to have that spot in your life and yes, those are for keeps - yes, those are worthy to be thankful for.

***

Having a grateful heart is like having an everlasting candle. Anything that is so bad can only be fought by something so good. And if we learn to find that joy, that gratitude, that love, we are only as good as our happy days. in the end, we only want things and yes, people, who we can always count at the end of the day as good ones! And once we have that ability, we'll live lives with a smile - not a fake one huh - a smile from deep within! Carefree, Peaceful, Grateful

Never Stop Being Thankful!
Steve