Gratitude is a highly underestimated virtue. We go through the rigmarole of life without acknowledging or thanking life for the various gifts that it showers on us. We accept them as pure coincidences or just a matter of good luck.
I think gratitude towards our loved ones is becoming a thing of the past. Somewhere we take them for granted and believe that they were just doing their role. We often forget that they did not simply do their roles mechanically; they also ensured that we were made to feel special and gave us the warmth that we needed.
I was reintroduced to the concept of gratitude when I was reading a book on Positive Psychology. In the book they talk about “Naikan” a Japanese technique of reflection. The technique can be used on a daily basis. The word Naikan means inside looking or introspection.It is primarily based on 3 questions:
What have I received from…
What have I given to…
What troubles and difficulties have I caused to…
The purpose is to use these questions to help one bring focus to how one has contributed and how one’s life has been enriched by the existing relationships and interactions that one may engage in on a daily basis or over an extended period of time.
Try using the technique and see how it impacts you.
Will do the next blog on guidelines to increase one’s sense of gratitude.
Every time I sit down to de-clutter my wardrobe, there are few clothes that have been around forever. They continue to sit in my cupboard for years and stare at me. These clothes are like leftovers, I can’t manage to make up my mind if I need to discard them or keep them.
Maybe this is a simile that works beautifully with the mind. Some thoughts continue to exist within us, leading a silent life, they gnaw at us and remind us that we need to give them a closure. But sometimes we wonder if we have the courage to deal with them? Would it feel like opening a can of worms?
Sometimes sitting on the fence is so easy, but it stops any movement and allows mind to stagnate. So this time, I’m choosing to discard few old thoughts and refurbish/redesign some old scripts that have shaped my life. I’m hoping to get in touch with some old thoughts that got deeply buried in my pursuit of work, and so called success.
Do you also feel the same? Do you too have old items in your cupboard that need discarding?
Sometimes I feel there are so many stories of pain, struggle, hope and resilience buried deep within me.These are tales, that clients have trusted me with and they are sacred.I’m sure clients wonder,what do I do with them.They continue to live a silent life within me and no one has access to them.I remember,when I was in college,a friend of me would tell me how I love listening to stories.Somehow in psychotherapy, I do that.When people ask me, what do I do,I say, I listen.I create a facilitative environment where people can share and be themselves. It’s a privelege to be trusted.Sometimes,when clients walk in the room, with their pain,all I can see is the strong will power to recover and hope.I see courage that each client brings in,every time, they choose to share their deepest buried secret.I owe gratitude to them and that’s why I let the story lie deep within the recesses of my mind and soul.
Being a psychologist has its advantages. Everyone has a story and just because I’m a therapist, it gets easier for people to share. So, because of my role, I have the privilege of parents, children and teenagers telling me their most intimate experiences. What I often hear is a need for achievement and it usually overrides the need for happiness.
When babies are born , they start belonging not only to the family but also in to the baggage of parental dreams, expectations.What would happen if we start expecting our kids only to be happy? Our only dream would be that they are good human beings.
In the pursuit of good grades or let’s say high grades, getting in to the best college, choosing either Science or Commerce, having a successful career and making money, happiness gets lost.
My mother used to tell me that if you find what makes you happy, you will find yourself. She trusted my ability to wander, and believed I would still not be lost. She taught me that I must strive for a goal that is meaningful to me. In this process, she taught me responsibility and the ability to find personal happiness.
As adults we need to create environments where children find happiness first and only when there is happiness, would they be able to believe in their ability to be.
So when I work with a group of teenagers, one of the exercises I ask students to participate in is finding ways they can teach happiness to those around.