Gratitude and expectations can never go together

Being grateful just means this – ‘It is nobody’s responsibility to fulfil me‘. When we affirm this to ourselves and this becomes our deepest value, we liberate others from the nearly impossible task of making us happy. We then take responsibility to make ourselves happy. That is to say, we begin to find and engage in those things that bring us joy. It could be that evening walk, or that quiet cup of tea before retiring for the night, or just spending time with friends we love. We discover, stand on and express these things that bring us joy. This way we aren’t beholden to anybody.

This is indeed the birth of gratitude. That is, when something nice happens, when someone does something kind to us, we are pleasantly surprised. Since we don’t expect people to do anything to us, we are happy and grateful when it does happen. This does not mean, of course that we don’t hold people to respect human values and treat us with dignity and respect. We most certainly do. But we do not impose this requirement on them. We respect ourselves. We express love though our daily lives. We stand as love. This usually attracts those people who respect themselves, who are kind.

Gratitude also means living simply and joyfully – happy being who one is. Our relationships then become an expression of our joy. And not an ego trip to acquire any happiness from anybody.

Making this transition can be difficult for most of us. One of the core values of the modern culture is The world owes me something and I deserve happiness. This can be the cause of great frustration for most of us. This value, makes us constantly prove ourselves in the world – in order to acquire fame, love and happiness. We are constantly grabbing at life when we feel the world owes us something.

We must instead turn around and look at who we are, what makes us happy, what is it we need to do in order to have a content life. And play out those values. Then, we aren’t grabbing happiness from people, our work and situations. We simply are happy and we express this love-happiness as service to the people around us.

Therefore begin by examining yourself. Are you constantly seeking happiness in the next big thing? If yes. Pause. Turn around. And discover who you are. This is the only way to contentment. This is the only way to gratitude.

K├╝ssaberg, Germany. 2023.

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