It is not forced, a pathway we choose.
And we rarely benefit from that choice.
That emergency surgery, the one that saved your life – left a scar.
We can choose to be grateful for our next breath. For the opportunity to live.
Or we can find a way to be enraged, to point out that given how much it costs, that scar really ought to be a lot smaller. And on top of that, he had a shoddy bedside manner.
Or we can choose to be grateful.
Marketers have spent countless dollars persuading us that we can have it all, that we deserve it, and that right around the corner is something even better. And we are entitled to our entitlement.
But why would you?
Entitlement gets us nothing but heartache. It blinds us to what is possible. It insulates us from the nuances of gratitude. And most of all, it lets us off the hook, pushing us away from taking responsibility, being action oriented, and towards a state of blaming others for dissatisfaction.
Gratitude, on the other hand, is just as valid a choice. Except that gratitude makes us open to possibility. It brings us closer to others. And it produces happiness.
There is a simple hack at work here: We are not grateful because we are happy. We are happy because we are grateful.
Everything could be better.
Not because we deserve it…
But because if we work at it, invest in it and connect with others around it, we can make it better.
It is difficult work, counter-instinctual work that never ends.
But we keep trying. Because it is worth it.