Why gratitude is so important

I feel like this subject gets beaten to death. Not that that’s a bad thing. After all, repetition is a great way to learn, and anything important bears repeating. But do you really understand why gratitude is so important?

We live in a consumer-centric culture, and people place a lot of value on possessions. Many people want to place the blame for that on greedy companies selling the products, but products are only made to meet demand. The true fault for our obsession with things is in us, the consumer. At the root of it is a dissatisfaction with the things we have.

I’m not knocking nice things. I love nice things. There is nothing wrong with having nice things, and setting goals for tangible items is totally fine. What’s bad for our mindset and mental health is when our craving and desire for those items overrides everything else. You might want a Porsche, but your life isn’t over because you drive a Toyota.

We associate happiness with success, and success with wealth, and wealth with possessions. So when our mind breaks it down, happiness = possessions. I can’t really think of a more fucked thought process. Each of those things has little bearing on the next, in addition to being shitty definitions of those words in the first place. We need to overhaul those definitions, but I’ll save that for another time.

For now, let’s bring it back to possessions, and our obsession with them. This constant comparison we subconsciously play creates a grass is greener mentality. As we sit and crave what we see as better, we begin to resent what we own. Resentment is the opposite of appreciation.

So what happens when you can’t appreciate what you already have? You get bitter. You get angry. You spend your time wishing for other things instead of living in the present. When you can’t live in the present, you can’t prepare for the future. When you can’t prepare for the future, you can’t create a path to the things you want.

Oddly enough, one of the most important ways to get what you want is to stop reaching for it so damn hard. Stop desiring it so much. Start looking at the good in your life and appreciate it for what it is. Accept it, and plan for the future.

I’m not saying you can’t get what you want in other ways, because you certainly can. But none of those ways are going to bring you happiness and personal fulfillment along the path, and when you reach your goal, it’s going to feel empty. After all, a key to appreciating what you have is understanding that it could be worse. Shit, it’s probably the single biggest part of appreciation. When you don’t understand that it could be worse, you’ll always be reaching for something better.

You can know that you have a shitty, unreliable car, but at least you don’t have to walk. Understand?

Let’s just be honest, nobody likes a complainer. Stop bitching about what you have and learn to be grateful. Big things happen in your mindset when you take time to be grateful.

Sometimes the Bad Guy Wins

Its a shitty statement to even utter, but it’s the truth. Sometimes bad people never get what we think they deserve. It’s tough to process, especially if your personal feelings are involved. Watching someone who you know has trash character be successful is painful.

We love a hero story. Literature and film have been telling the story of good vs. evil for as long as they’ve existed. We love the underdog, we love karmic retribution. We love watching Rocky beat Ivan Drago.

But the reality of life isn’t as black and white, and we don’t always get that scripted ending. We don’t always get our way. In fact, we rarely get our way unless we’re willing to put in intense amounts of work. Before we can do that, we need to better understand this uncomfortable truth.

Who’s the bad guy?

In real life, it’s a lot harder to discern good from bad, right from wrong. Aside from ax murderers and serial rapists, a lot of bad behaviors operate in a real hazy space. Most people will deliberately mask their shitty actions behind some form of kindness. They do this because they know it’s wrong, and people will judge them for it.

But how can you be a good judge of character if the negativity isn’t up front? Unfortunately, that’s an ongoing dilemma. The truth is, you’ll get duped, you’ll befriend people who are selfish, ego driven, and sometimes full blown sociopaths.

Following is a list of traits and behaviors to be on the lookout for.

  • Angered frequently, easily, or excessively
  • Intentionally blames others for their own behavior
  • Self absorbed and inclined to brag
  • Uses kindness or generosity as leverage in relationships
  • Critical of others and unforgiving
  • Hates puppies

Okay, so I may have just thrown in that last one, but it’s definitely a red flag. Another red flag I didn’t put on the list but could be, is if they have an extensive list of former friends who “wronged them.” We all have a few of those, but when there’s a small army, it often points to a more serious issue.

You also need to look at these things and ask yourself “am I the bad guy?” Sometimes you may be more of a Leonard Shelby than a Clark Kent.

I fucked you up with that one, huh?

Cold, hard truth

So there’s an ugly truth we have to face. The idea that these fakes and liars never get the justice we know they rightfully deserve. The truth is that some terrible people live to ripe old ages, and die with a smile, never paying for their transgressions.

How do we cope with that? How do we come to grips with the idea that life isn’t always fair? To start, you need to accept that life has no bias toward anyone, good or bad. Luck isn’t a thing. We create a good portion of the positive and negative aspects of our lives, and the rest is just statistical chance.

If you think good always wins, then why did Kim Jong Il die while in power? It’s simple: good doesn’t always win. Sometimes the bad guy wins.

I’m not saying this to appear negative, or to dash the hopes and dreams of those who type “amen” in the comment section. It’s just the truth.

So maybe your personal nemesis will always do well. Maybe the person you know who is a selfish fraud will continue to pull the wool over the eyes of everyone around them. You’re just going to have to deal with that, and the best way is to not deal with it.

That’s right, just don’t deal with it. Don’t deal with that person. Don’t associate with them, don’t do anything to support them, don’t let them invade your thoughts and take your power.

The ideal goal is to raise your self awareness and acceptance to a point that you don’t let shit phase you. You can be aware of your anger, jealousy, and that biting desire for vengeance, yet not be consumed by it. In fact, the quicker you can recognize it and say “I see you,” the quicker you can drop it and move on. Simple acknowledgement is enough to weaken the grip just enough to start wriggling free.

We can’t let our skewed view of fairness and justice piss in our Cheerios. We have to acknowledge that sometimes bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people, and then we have to let it go. Look at the rage simmering in your stomach, and say “I see you.”

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