If we look back, do we find we have grown in our ability to be grateful? I myself wrote today, “I’m really glad I was able to recover most of my work from my computer crash last night.” Most. Not all. Still grateful though.
We be can angry we broke our arm in a car accident or we can be grateful we didn’t die. The choice is always ours. This week’s all about us getting serious about happiness by getting a better grip on consciously choosing ‘appreciation’ as our perspective.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs orders what we humans need to reach what we collective sense as our personal peak. First we must meet our physiological needs. Before anything else all wall need to have enough food and water, and enough security and shelter before we can even start to survive or thrive.
It’s a painful to thing to want to be able to eat but to not be able to, whether we’re in a drought in Africa, a cancer ward in Australia, or in an empty store during a pandemic in Canada. Most of us aren’t experiencing those things most times, so every time we are not we can be grateful for that.
The next level of human need is our connections to others. We need support, care and love, and those that share it with us are where we will feel that we belong. As much as possible, we are hopefully all a part of a friendship or a family, or maybe we have intimate contact with someone.
The sort of dedication that those loving relationships require, helps to teach us the larger skills needed to meet an higher purpose of loving all people, which is what most people agree is one of the greatest achievements are person could accomplish. It’s what the founder of each major religion strove to do.
Next is esteem. First and foremost we need to have self-esteem. We have to truly recognize that we deserved the love we were given and we still deserve it now. Deserve isn’t even the right word. Any feeling we can have belongs to us. That’s the only way we feel them.
If we have self-esteem then we can translate that into gaining the confidence and admiration of a group. If we’re good at appreciating them and they us, then we can all share the cooperation and support we need to stay alive, all while building a legacy that ensures we will have an impact that will last beyond ourselves our days on this Earth.
Even during our dark times, if we’re a boss or parent or coach or even a friend, we can feel grateful for the chance to serve others and to use our amazing abilities to inspire others to greatness themselves. In fact the greatest leaders always shine the brightest during the darkest times.
Next is our spiritual self so to speak. We need to self-actualize. We need to do something for the creative, life-creating, reality-expanding being within us. Maybe we need to paint or dance, or learn to fix cars or give a speech –or maybe even travel.
No matter how we activate personally, we can simply pursue our callings. That expaands the universe by expanding ourselves. It’s like taking our sense of love and expanding it outside ourselves and into the larger world so that it can do likewise. Like a single candle radiating out in every direction, lighting more and more candles each time.
And that was where Maslow originally stopped because he wasn’t old enough yet to know there’s another phase after that.
Our final and most important shift is when we live in a state of self-transcendence. That’s when we are so complete, so overflowing with success that we can stop thinking about ourselves and we can begin investing our attention on others instead, as most people do as they face death.
That’s what created my books, movies and this blog. It’s hard to suffer when your mind won’t consistently create anyone to do that suffering. Instead, we can focus our minds on being fully absorbed in what we’re doing. We can profoundly appreciate how our life impacts others.
We need not steal from ourselves, the incredible joy of having been a person who really makes a meaningful difference.
Let us wake up each day and be grateful. And let us use that fuel to lift us higher and higher, past health and safety and love and success. We can climb that mountain all the way to Buddahood. It’s just waiting for us to reach it through our life’s slow but determined steps.
Let us be grateful, and to feel the energy build within us from that. And before we know it, a new outlet will appear to us, and you will have a brand new canvas to fill with our dreams. Maybe they will be paintings, maybe they will be a food bank, but whatever we create, I very much look forward to making the world more beautiful with you. That is why I am grateful for you.
Have a fantastic day everyone. Create that for yourself by filling it with appreciation. Even if it’s with a broken arm. 😉 Much love.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.