The Importance of Gratitude

If you have been following this blog for very long, you know that one of the main teachings here is the importance of gratitude. You may recall that as my children were growing up, my wife used to say to them when they wanted something they couldn’t or shouldn’t have, “To desire what you don’t have is to waste what you do have!” This was her expression of the importance of gratitude: be thankful for what you do have.

Anita Moorjani expressed this idea in her Ted Talk. She brought back five main ideas from her near death experience from cancer, the first of which was quoted in The Importance of Love.

The fourth thing I learned is that life is a gift. It really is! Most of us live our lives as though life is a chore, but it shouldn’t be that way. And it’s unfortunate that only when we lose something that we value do we really realize the true value of it. And it took me losing my life to realize the value of my life. And I don’t want other people to make the same mistake, which is why I’m standing here sharing my message. Because I don’t want people to realize when it’s too late the value of their life and your life is a gift. Even the challenges that come to you are a gift.

When I had cancer that was the biggest challenge I could ever have. But today, when I look back on it I feel it’s the biggest gift I could have had. People think that the cancer or even I thought the cancer was killing me but actually I was killing myself before I got cancer. The cancer saved my life.

All your challenges are gifts in the end, in the end you will find you will always find that your challenges are a gift. And if you’re in a challenge and it doesn’t feel like a gift yet it means you haven’t got to the end yet.

So if life is a gift and your challenges are a gift, it is important for you to appreciate your gifts and express gratitude for them.

I’ve been a cancer survivor for almost 22 years and yet, every evening before I go to bed and every morning before I get out of bed, I review the people and events that I am grateful for each day and I find that I am contemplating them all day long. This has made me express gratitude all day, every day, especially to people who I cross in my life. For example, I spent 13 days in the hospital on two occasions in August. Whenever someone came  in my room to take blood, vital signs or dirty gowns, I would  thank them. When the nurses came to start the IV antibiotics, I would thank them. When the doctors made their (late) rounds, I would thank them. I did this out of being present for whatever was going on. This has also taught me to be kind to myself and others, but that is the subject of a different article!

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