Gratitude and its Power Against Profound Sadness

March 19, 2018

Gratitude is a virtue that has been forgotten by many. This oblivion increases as society pushes us to be more selfish, to take everything for granted and to not value what we have. The more selfish we become, the less able we are to perceive the external world. We become less capable of noticing the simplicity and beauty which reigns in the world.

When we only focus our gaze inwards, we lose the integrity of our perspective on life. We ignore the nuances of our existence. Often we even forget our human condition. We get lost in that boring dance of routines, in “the concrete steps towards a normal adult life”, in living to work… and we forget that we exist in this world.

The latest version of perfected practice-based autopilot controls our lives and guides our steps. We become blind and ignorant to external beauty. We decided a while ago that this isn’t worth our time, without even realizing that we had made that decision. “We don’t have the time.” There’s always some place to be and something to do. I only have the resources to rush into this labyrinth that society has built for me.

A lazy woman turning off an alarm clock.

Gratitude enriches the meaning of our existence

We tend to forget about nature and about the lessons that it offers us. Thus, we only exist to take a series of previously established and perfectly organized steps. There are people who go into this spiral and don’t even notice it. It’s as if they have pushed a button and turned off everything that connected them to life (in all of its extension and depth).

Many times deep sadness has to do with that lack of gratitude towards the little gifts that life offers us. It has to do with a perspective that has been inverted, from the inside out. A gaze that doesn’t contemplate anything beyond itself. Therefore, the pain suffered will be very intense, since we cannot use the external world to aid in our survival.

An open window showing a beautiful landscape.

Taking something for granted, assuming that the people around us will stick around regardless of our behavior… Assuming the things that our parents do for us is something “parents have to do” and not valuing it… Stepping into this kind of perspective reinforces our tunnel vision.

Ingratitude atrophies our senses and increases our dissatisfaction

When we realize that we have entered this spiral of ingratitude (which is so easy to enter and so widespread in our current society), we’ll have a better idea of its destructive power. It’s as if we’re were about a hurricane that destroys everything it touches. Ingratitude transforms us into people who are selfish and insensitive towards the kindness of others.

Our senses become atrophied when we take the things in our lives for granted without appreciating or being grateful for them. We tend to focus more on what we don´t have, rather than appreciate what we do have. We only believe in what life “should” give us. Thus, as we feed and nourish those thoughts, we will increase the sensation of dissatisfaction we feel towards our lives.

The sadness will become easier to bear and will even disappear when we perform a simple exercise. It consists of being grateful for the things we have and for the things we think are ours out of pure right. Being thankful for kind gestures from the people around us and focusing on the messages that nature offers us are two good examples.

A girl hugging a tree in gratitude

The sadness will vanish when we appreciate what life gives us

Don’t let a single day go by without seeing what’s around you. We’re talking about the simplicity which nourishes our day-to-day lives in a stealthy, silent way. Things that put smiles on our faces. A smile of curiosity or one brought on by silliness, but a smile nonetheless.

From the warmth which enters directly into our hearts when our dog is happy to see us… to the surprise or awe caused by the growth of a seed we planted in a pot. Gratitude saves our lives. It sensitizes us and transforms us into wonderful life companions. Companions who show us the beauty and kindness of the world around us. If you embrace life just as it is, you are embracing gratitude. And gratitude will ease and appease even the most tormented soul.