We all want to find ‘the one’, that one ideal person, with whom we can build the life we’ve always coveted and wanted. Western society tells us meeting the right person can utterly complete and improve our lives, and whether that’s true or not, it remains utterly important to us. There’s no getting around it, humans are social beings. We need lovers, friends and families, so why are so many of us so bad at making them work, long term?
What is Gratitude?
Seems pretty basic right? What is gratitude though? At its core, what is it? The word, in various languages, weaves its way through all kinds of ancient philosophies and religions, especially Buddhism and Stoicism, but don’t let that mislead you, gratitude has never been more relevant to human life.Gratitude should form the core of a realistic healthy ego. Click To Tweet
Knowing you’re lucky to have even survived to adulthood is a big thing, beyond that, you need to appreciate that the world owes you nothing, and no matter how dire your personal circumstances, things can always be worse. That means that no matter what, you’ve always been blessed, and lucky, and have things to be grateful for.
Stopping and taking note of what you need to be thankful for is all-important.
Sure, the Americans have Thanksgiving once a year, but you should be grateful every single time someone thinks to invite you to a party, thinks to get you a coffee, or even just hold a door open. Gratitude is a portal through which you can clearly see your own importance in other people’s lives, without any delusion or unrealistic ego. It’ll keep you humble, it’ll manage your expectations, and it can make you the kind of person who can maintain lengthy, loving and fruitful relationships, both platonic and romantic.
Why is it So Necessary Nowadays?
We’re currently inhabiting a world so utterly suffused with technology and interconnectedness that somehow, real human contact has never been less necessary. There’s no need to go out and see your mates when you can simply jump on the Xbox and play games with them, there’s no need to ring for a catch up, because you get all the updates on Facebook. There’s even no need to go out to meet partners, courtesy of supposedly beneficial dating apps.
What it all comes down to is a real breakdown of communication skills. You’re looking at a generation of people who struggle to maintain friendships, and meet partners in ways their parents couldn’t have imagined. I’m not going to simply lump this on the shoulders of millennials though, because everyone has social media nowadays. It’s not a problem with just young people.
You’ve got so many people obsessed with crafting the perfect personal brand online. Creating the pages, blogs and communications that really communicate the person they wish they were. The one they want people to see. Social media tells us we’ve all got something important and interesting to communicate, and that just isn’t true. All that’s really happening is the growth of massive, isolated egotism.
Then you’ve got people scrolling through social media, and seeing nothing but others highlight reels, the very best parts of their lives. Which is depressing when you’re sat in bed eating pizza and watching Top Gear reruns.
That lack of core social skills, the loss of the ability to understand what people need from you, and failing to understand how we’re perceived so much of the time can be incredibly damaging to relationships. When the ego gets of hand, and you cease noticing exactly how much people do for you, it can easily be terminal for relationships.
What is a Lack of Gratitude
How does it manifest itself? What does it look like? It’s being spoilt. It’s expecting something for nothing from the world around you, thinking you’re owed a living, and taking loved ones and friends for granted. In short, it’s not being a great person. Obviously, most of us lie somewhere on the spectrum from humble and grateful, to a little bit spoiled, but when it gets out of hand, it can become incredibly ugly and limiting.Don’t get me wrong though, a little bit of ego is totally essential. Click To Tweet
You cannot be without pride or self-assuredness. Everyone needs a touch of arrogance, because we all have amazing achievements and experience in our past. We’re all people of value, with great things to contribute to the world.
But if your friendships and romances are suffering, there’s a chance you could benefit hugely from being a little more grateful. If you can incorporate a little more gratitude into your way of thinking and being, that will show itself, people will notice, and you will be more loved and trusted.
How Do the Healthiest, Longest Relationships Work?
It all comes down to a couple of things, circumstance not being least of them. You’ve got to have mutual respect, mutual liking and personality similarities, as well as avoiding taking each other for granted. Once people, friends or partners, feel taken for granted, or that they’re putting in the majority of the work, it’s going to be the first nail in the coffin of the relationship.
Benefits of Gratitude to a Relationship
It’s an antidote to egotism. This is important. You can’t date, love or entirely respect someone who has an unrealistically inflated sense of their own skill, importance, or has a bit of a superiority complex. It’s a flaw at the deepest level of the relationship, and can very easily grow into a huge bone of contention between you.
Get out of your own head. Being self-absorbed, and failing to pay people around you the attention they deserve is not good.
Gratitude forces you to think about how you’re perceived, and how you affect others around you.
Take note when something nice is done for you, taking loved ones for granted, and that complacency, is a major issue. It can lead to cheating, loss of passion and all sorts of issues. It’s not hard to change though, just start implementing gratitude in your life properly.
What Else can You Expect?
Expect greater levels of happiness, as you build positive feedback loops with friends and people around you. People will be nicer to you, as you’re nicer to them, and you’ll feel more included and liked. Gratitude can do so much for you, including maintaining great positivity, perspective and motivation. Which means gratitude can boost almost every aspect of your life. All that you need to do is implement it in your life.
How to Build Gratitude
Building gratitude in your life doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s something you can do with next to no real effort. You just need to pull yourself away from your own problems, and look at what you have. What you’ve achieved. What your friends, family and partners do for you. Remember, you aren’t owed a thing by the world, and you only exist, because of an incredibly unlikely set of circumstances occurred. You’ve tons to be thankful for.
If all that seems hard to implement, then try meditation. Just ten minutes in the morning can be key to boosting the way you think about the world, and yourself. It can give you a sense of realism, and take away delusions, all while helping ameliorate stress and other problems. It can help you focus your efforts to boost your gratitude.
Tips and Tricks
If you’re still wondering what else you can do to boost your gratitude, or even just your motivation, happiness and moods in general, try out using some of the many well-being apps available on iOS and Android. Apps like Analyze.Life allow you to track and measure the development of skills like gratitude, as well as diet, meditation, and other important elements of self-improvement.