We’re always told to be grateful for what we have; to focus on what is positive in our lives and build up from there and to take inspiration from this. To take stock and to re-assess, over and over again every year. Sometimes I tend to think that nothing I do or say, or in fact who I am, is ever quite good enough or worthy of gratitude. Good enough for who, I’m not sure. There’s a sensibility in that I struggle to feel gratitude. I guess in this world of insta-likes and fame it can be very easy to get lost in your own lacking self-worth and pity. In my mind I feel that the act of feeling ‘gratitude’ can carry some weight of insipid self-involved neo-hippy self-help nonsense.
Of course, it being towards the end of the year means that we’re intrinsically drawn to review our lives and plot down the points, either in our minds or on paper [or in this case, on this blog], what we are in fact ‘grateful’ for. What is gratitude, however? A part of me feels that it is entirely a concept of self-indulgence and absorption, for by the very fact that one is feeling thankful and content with what they may have can for me carry a corollary sense of arrogance and conceit. Can you be grateful and still have humility at the same time? OR is the fact that we are asked to find the things we are grateful for around this time of year something that is entirely conditioned in our psyches by Western culture and society? It seems to me to be a very euro-centric, and perhaps these days more an ameri-centric concept to give thanks and be grateful.
Such as the tradition of Thanksgiving itself. As an outsider [Italo-Australian] looking in, the holiday of Thanksgiving is confusing and puzzling to me. The fact that it was a supposed moment of peace-making and setting aside differences, in this instance between religious outcasts who arrived in what has become the US, and the local indigenous people who shared a meal and gave thanks; yet this sentiment of building bridges and peace subsequently has gotten lost is so confusing to me. I remember watching American media i.e films and television shows where the picture-perfect family will go around the table and say what they give thanks for, and cringing at how self-involved it all felt.
However, we are reminded that feeling gratitude is a purgative means to gain balance and some semblance of pride in our worth and our paths in life. Yet the flip side is what of those whom we may deem as not having as much as we to feel grateful for? Or, conversely, those we are indubitably going to be comparing ourselves to, who may have ‘more’ to feel grateful for. Again, the spectre of capitalist thought looms, as of course to have ‘more’ to feel grateful for is better than to have less to. This is why in my mind the very principle of feeling ‘gratitude’ can be somewhat perplexing to me, as in my head it creates just another hierarchy and pattern.
Much however, can be said for being consciously reflective on your own life. As Plato once said, ‘The un-examined life is not worth living’. It’s a difficult thing for me to list down things that I am grateful for, as again I feel it can be something that is bloated with self-worth and self-importance, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll give it a red-hot go.
Despite feeling an impending sense of gloom lately with how the world appears to me, and how everything this year has felt like a dire slippery slope into decline, there is still much for me to feel grateful for in my life today. We are all so lucky to even be coherent, sentient beings. We are all lucky to live in this day and age, as well.
So, first and foremost, I am grateful I have my health.
The fact that I am a relatively healthy person is something to be grateful for, and something that should not be taken lightly. Of course, that being said, there is always more room for improvement in this regard, and it is something that more and more as I age I am aware of.
2: My friends.
My friends are becoming more and more my stand-in family. They are my net, they are my confidants and they are my people. It’s taken some years of searching, but I really feel grateful for my friends these days. We’ve grown closer and enjoyed each other’s company more and more.
3: My boyfriend.
This is a given. I’m eternally grateful for my boyfriend, as without him I honestly don’t know who or where I would be. It sometimes makes me afraid to think about this subject. I at times postulate that, had I not met him, I may not even be here today, typing this out, living in a home I love with someone I adore, and working in a great workspace with people that actually appreciate me and the work I do.
So, these are 3 things I am grateful in my life today.