Gratitude is one of the hottest subjects in today's self-help circles and there are plausible reasons why so many people are learning to make this powerful emotion a part of their life. However, the secret to real gratitude practice often gets buried in piles of content available on the Internet.
We are going to dig deep into the basis of what builds an attitude of gratitude, and what actually activates the real feelings that consequently attract abundance, peace and comfort.
1) Accept your present reality
Real and sincere gratitude starts with first accepting your current reality, no matter how uncomfortable or bad it may seem right now. Most people will spend time worrying about how to start the practice, when in reality all it takes is surrender, acceptance of everything and gracefully coming to terms with your present situation.
If we do not accept present reality, we get into the state of resistance. When we are resisting our situations, events, people's behaviour and their negative attitude towards us, we are actually making sure that these unwanted things continue. Resistance only creates more of what we are resisting (our unwanted situation) because we are actually focusing on lack.
The law of attention or the popular Law of Attraction also tells us that whatever we pay attention to, we start storing that information into our subconscious mind. If we are in a constant state of resistance, complaining and non-acceptance, we are actually downloading unwanted, negative files into our subconscious. As these negative thoughts get stored into our subconscious, they start becoming habitual thinking patterns or permanent paradigm. Once these negative thoughts become habitual and part of our memory, we eventually start attracting negative events. So, our best option is to accept whatever comes our way.
How to accept your present reality
You cannot accept an unwanted current situation merely by saying out loud that "I accept my situation" because the thoughts that hijack your mind are of negative nature. Despite your desire to gracefully accept your condition breaking out of the negative psychological trap, your emotional state is quite the opposite and this puts you in resistance.
Here's how you can practise acceptance by learning these traits and habits:
Be realistic and open-minded
Being a realist or looking at every situation with open-mindedness does wonders as it will enable you to see through everything. We become judgemental when we go through any situation because our ego is designed to protect and defend us even if we are at fault. Open-mindedness allows us to accept our mistakes, negligence, wrongdoing, laziness and lack and this is what motivates us to move on without feeling trapped by outside situations.
Patience is a virtue almost all religions and societies have propagated. Patience is the key to success as it allows us to block negative thought cycles that play in our subconscious mind. Humans, by default, are hasty and impatience as they want quick success in everything. But lacking patience is the recipe for discomfort and loss. Whenever your mind starts creating doubts, worry and fear, tell is to patient and wait. As soon as the negative flow of thoughts subside, you regain your mental control.
Forgive yourself and those whom you think have done something wrong to you. Maybe you have been taken advantage of by your relatives or someone so accepting your reality can become hard in that situation.
2) End entitlement
Entitlement or deservedness is the biggest stumbling block in the way of true gratitude as it is based on unrealistic approach to life. Entitlement means we are not willing to assess our own reality. The fact is, we have not created anything in life. The air we breathe, the Earth we walk on, water we drink, the food we eat are things that are beyond our control as they were not created by us humans. If a mishap occurs to someone, their only option left is to experience it. Even the smallest benefit we receive from life is not earned by us, It is only gifted to us. So, it makes perfect sense to always be in a state of thankfulness and appreciation.
Entitlement is all about ego and false perception about one's own self. When we start taking gifts of life for granted and with an entitled mindset, we send a negative signal to the Creator/Universe/Nature, that we are selfish creatures who are not appreciative of the infinite intelligence active in every atom of creation.
Understanding the dangers and ills of entitlement is important, but what's even more important is how to actually remove it from our mind. Since today's world has become more selfish and self-obsessed, we have become an easy prey to entitlement. So, protecting our mind from this evil takes some conscious effort on our part.
Things can always get worse
The best way to get rid of entitlement is to look at life from a realistic point of view, which means we must not be judgemental and egoistic. When we become real and non-judgemental, we come to realise that things can always get worse. No humans is immune to harm, weakness and losses because we are not the creator of life. For instance, when something bad or negative happens to us, we should look at that situation with a non-judgemental view as this situation could have got much much worse.
When we are receiving gifts and relief from life, we must consciously assess how it all happened in the first place. For instance, you are running a successful business and you might feel entitled to it. When you feel entitled to your business success, you obviously aren't willing to appreciate others, God, your employees, your parents, peace and opportunities. However, the bitter reality is, your business success is the result of countless other factors that were completely beyond you. There was oxygen in the air that kept you alive while you were working to establish this business. If you had run into a crisis during that time, could you have succeeded in the business?
Looking at life and situations from a could-be-worse perspective always puts us in harmony with the Universal laws and nature and this activates heartfelt gratitude.
We are vulnerable to harm
Admit it or not, we are nothing in this gigantic universe. Something as little as a bacteria can harm our physical health and sometimes even life. We may have been taught how smart we humans are, but that' not realistic approach. The fact is, the same technology that we create in the hope of bringing comfort in life become hazardous to us.