I think the point is to reframe our thought pattern to one that is more positive. For example, instead of pondering our “don’t haves,” we can be imminently grateful for the things we possess. We’re then able to see elements which we’ve previously taken for granted – items that initially brought us joy, but are now no longer in our line of vision.
If you enumerated all the material things and people in your life that make a positive contribution, I imagine you’d be overwhelmed. You may not like your circumstance, but you can still be grateful for your blessings.
Seeing obstacles as opportunities is another way to instill thankfulness within your daily routine. Is it possible that those thorns in your side exist for a specific reason?
A wise individual once said the following: “Sometimes it takes a catastrophe for you to climb the mountain.” In the absence of a compelling reason to the contrary, our sense of inertia may simply be insurmountable. When we have no other options is when we see our character unfold.
Defining periods like this mold our persona in a manner that would not have occurred otherwise. Irritants may then be gifts in the guise of annoyance. Moreover, “growth opportunities” probably sound better than your current characterization. E.g., another person’s poor taste could produce your pearl of organization; similarly, the experience of bad behavior (though initially hurtful), may prompt you to be an activist for the opposite. “Gratuitous gifts” are events for which we cannot account, but appear valuable if seen from a different perspective.
Below are some ways to till the soil of gratitude in your own lives:
- Say thank you. This seems like a “no brainer,” but how often does it occur? The advent of texting, instant messaging, and instantaneous chat has removed the civility component from our communication. Next time, (instead of directly launching into your desired outcome), why not inquire about the other person? This introduces more of the human element into your exchange.
- Count your blessings. A wholesale inventory of what we have (material, spiritual, familial, and emotional) is many times enough to brighten our day. A journal is an excellent tool to accomplish this task. I complete my entries at night, when I can fully take stock of what transpired.
- Change your reference point. Framing “problems” as masked opportunities is a better way to mentally deal with difficult conditions. We may not be able to change other people, but we can always change ourselves – which in turn may take care of the former.