A popular archetype in western culture is that of the poor little rich kid – someone who was raised in such abundant wealth and opulence that we actually pity their existence since their concept of reality is so stunted that they’ll never grasp what it is to face life as a regular person. The PLRK creates crises out of seemingly insignificant and trivial things because they’ve never had to face actual problems and their idea of difficulty is skewed.
You don’t have to descend from moneyed elites to have elements of this personality. Today, perhaps more than ever, our problems are quite insignificant. Our grandparents and great-grandparents faced down actual existential threats like famines, wars and pestilence. We complain when the next version of our favorite mobile device isn’t available and we have to drive 10 extra miles to the only shop that has one. Or moan about having to sit in the middle seat on a flight from Miami to New York when the same trip would’ve taken our grandparents days to make.
Gratitude can change your life, but not just being grateful on its own. After all, someone who is used to luxury might have a much higher standard of gratitude than you or I. The kind of gratitude that makes life beautiful is the kind that is based on recognizing the basic abundance inherent in our lives. Things like having friends, being healthy, having a roof over our heads, being able to live in relative safety, etc. These are the things that go completely unnoticed by some, or even most, people. And yet they are powerful examples of things for which we can be thankful on a daily basis.
Expressing gratitude for what we have or openly toward others is a kind of exercise in taking note. Literally, some people take notes in gratitude journals of five (or more) things each day that made their life worth living. What’s interesting is that, when you get past the initial stuff, you’re left with the simple things that are so seemingly insignificant that they would otherwise go unrecorded. Pro Tip: these are things things that actually matter.
When you grow aware of the simple things in life and how extraordinarily blessed you are by them, it becomes more and more obvious that we never really had to endure and emerge from abject suffering in order to be thankful. And when you become aware of those things for which to be grateful, your life takes on a blessed state; you begin to open your heart to the nature of natural and effortless abundance.