Tag Archive | gratitude

The Virtues of Solitude – 5. Appreciation

Did you know that only 10% of our mind functions consciously on a daily basis?

That leaves the other 90% functioning on an unconscious auto-pilot mode.  In essence, all the stimulation of our daily lives is filtered out for what is the most immediately relevant to us.  So what’s the big deal you ask?  The big deal is the little things we miss on the way. We miss the opportunities for admiration, the doorways to experiencing gratitude, and the chances to appreciate life as a whole.  We miss the feelings of happiness, the childlike sensations of awe, and the innocent curiosity of wonder.

If you look around, it’s easy to see that the need for personal Solitude is great in this world.  Not only does Solitude help us develop inner peace, acceptance and understanding, but also outer insight, awareness and most essentially, appreciation.  After all, how are we supposed to enjoy the journey rather than the destination without appreciating what we see on the way?

Gratitude and Appreciation

If you want to find happiness, find gratitude.  ~  S. Maraboli

Gratitude stems from appreciation and is essentially an attitude of thankfulness towards the big and little things of life.  When was the last time you sat down and thought about all the things you’re thankful for?  Or stopped at the traffic lights and felt gratitude for your ability to work for money, drive, gather food, function normally … So why do we complain more than feel appreciation in our lives?  The answer is an easy one: lack of awareness, and lack of alone time and personal Solitude.  As I mentioned earlier, we live most of our days in an automatic and unconscious state.  As you can read in a previous article, this is largely due to the fact that we constantly live in the past or off in the future, forgetting about this present moment now.  To experience gratitude is to experience an appreciation of the present moment, of what we possess right now.  Experiencing gratitude also requires a certain level of introspective alone time, you could even say that gratitude is a natural byproduct of Solitude.  Without Solitude, it’s extremely difficult to develop appreciation when we’re engulfed in tides of people, noise and drama.

My question to you, the Reader:

How do you practice gratitude in your daily life?

Admiration and Appreciation

Admiration is the second element of appreciation and is basically a feeling of wonder and pleasure towards something.  Admiration is essential to our lives because it instills in us a sense of love, respect and awe for what we see.  When you pass a mountain in your car, do you feel a sense of awe and wonder?  When you see a mother nursing her young in the streets, do you feel a sense of love and respect?  Too often we take the things we see for granted, missing out on their hidden opportunities to experience admiration and appreciation, the very things that help us enjoy life.  This is due to the fact that we don’t make time and space for ourselves to absorb the world around us.  Once again, experiencing admiration in its purest form is closely linked to the need to establish personal Solitude.  How can we live life fully without first admiring, appreciating and enjoying it first?

Appreciation, the fifth virtue of Solitude, is split up into the two elements of gratitude and admiration.  These allow us to see each moment as a beautiful gift, with eyes of wonder and respect.

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Gratitude – the key to a happy life

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” Melody Beattie

Often times we get so busy with chasing after the things we want, after the things that are somewhere out there, that we forget to enjoy the present moment, we forget to be happy. You hear people all the time saying: Oh, I will be happy when I will get this and that, when I will get there, when I will do this and that… and when those things do happen, they go on to planning the next thing and the next thing and forget to enjoy the things they achieved so far, the things they longed for. By doing so people also forget to enjoy what they already have, they forget to be happy. Don’t let that be you.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah Winfrey

Realize that now, in this moment you have more than enough. It’s okay to have dreams, it’s okay to aspire to grow, to learn, to evolve and to achieve big things but it’s also important to celebrate yourself, to celebrate your accomplishments, to celebrate the present moment and to celebrate your life. With gratitude comes happiness and with happiness comes gratitude…

Here is a really beautiful gratitude poem which I’m sure you would love.

Be Thankful

“Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,

If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something

For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.

During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations

Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge

Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes

They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary

Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.

A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are

also thankful for the setbacks.