Lets start with this question... what is the Opposite of Gratitude? Is it self-absorption? Fear? I think it is far more dangerous than that. It is the crazy idea us humans have inside that manifests as "entitlement".
I’m not talking about the kind of entitlement our grandparents say as they wave their fingers at us....the label we brand our youth with today.
I’m talking about the kind of entitlement we all experience… on a daily basis. We aren’t exactly ungrateful, but we feel entitled – inadvertently. We just FORGET our blessings and EXPECT.
Do you expect the following?
I do. And guess what. I do not even realize that I feel entitled to them until that damn bus to work passes me by.
Or I jump in the shower and have a nasty surprise....
All these things that really help me and make me HAPPY all along I just take for granted. WORSE. When I don't get them I feel angry. Slighted. Like somehow I deserve it just because...
Deserving comes from a place of having a healthy self-esteem. Entitlement comes from the ego. Whole books have been written on this battle of Self Esteem vs Ego. What we need to focus on in our brief time together is to plant the seed that there is a real battle going on. And believe me it is a full on war everyday. For example... back to my bus example:
I am pissed at the transit people because they should have waited for me. Like couldn't he (the Bus driver) see ME . - That’s the Ego inner narrative.
I am pissed off that the bus was early because I had checked the schedule. - That’s a health Self Esteem narrative.
In both situations one can get pissed off. We missed the bus that we EXPECTED. The Ego drives us to be constantly self-serving, performing actions based on “it's all about me,” rather than what is best for the common good or even what is REAL.
So how do we by-pass this?
Gratitude is not our natural disposition, so it will take some time and effort. This is a key BADASS discipline to remind yourself of the many reasons you have to be grateful. It will take time. But this is an exercise well worth the discomfort.
If you make yourself conscious of all the things you have to be grateful for in life it side steps this demon of entitlement. And when you free up all that wasted energy you can focus on the things you really deserve. They say you earn self esteem by doing estimable things. Estimable things are BADASS things.
Here is my challenge to you: Take some time today, wherever you are and whatever you are doing, to come up with a gratitude list.
Make it part of your journalling time if you want.
If it doesn’t come naturally, don’t let that stop you from still giving thanks.