Why is it so hard to be thankful?
If you had to come up with a list of ten people or events for which you are thankful versus ten complaints about people or circumstances in your life, which would you finish first? If you are like me, the list of complaints will be finished first. The question is why? Why do we remember the terrible, unfortunate, bitter things that have happened in our lives more than the happy, fortunate and sweet moments of our lives? it seems that we are predisposed to remember the bad and not the good. This may have some psychological evolutionary reason. Perhaps, we remember the bad things with the purpose to not suffer the same fate again. remembering were we encounter the wild animal, or the poisoned ivy, is a way to avoid the same territory and prevent our own extinction. But, our constant remembrance of the harm suffered has a detrimental, psychological effect on us.
It seems that when we constantly remember the evil someone did to us, we lose site of what is good in our life. We reduce our whole being to that one offence and forget the number of joyful moments that have also made up who we are. We recount the vent with a luxury of details. We recount it to ourselves, to family, to friends at any opportunity and for any reason. We highlight the when, the how and the why. We have deeply thought about it and we will repeat it for as long as we live. That one event has defined us and identified us with family and friends. In fact, they have heard it so many times that they can retell it in our stead. They become depressed and or indifferent to our plight. Some try to avoid us because they know that, no matter what, we will work the tragic story into the conversation. We have become the tragedy.
It is impossible to be thankful when we constantly relive the pain of the past. The two are not compatible. The good has been dislodged by the bad. It is not that good things have not happened to us but that we have ejected our fortune for our misfortune. The apostle Paul knew this and encouraged the believers at Philippi to meditate, to think deeply, on those aspects of our life that have lifted us up rather than to dwell on the moments that bring us down.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
We all have the option to remember the best or the worst that others have done for us. But why remember that which destroys us when we can remember that which elevates us. You probably have had someone who has been true to you, a noble person that blessed us, that occasion when what was right happened to you, the friend who did something that was pure and lovely, you probably have had a father or a mother that was exemplary, praiseworthy. why not think on these people, why not think on what they did for us, why not wonder how did they do it? We should go over and over again the way they helped us, blessed us, and understand the manner in which they performed such virtues. We would be motivated to be more like them and perhaps be kind and lovely to someone else.
Let us thank God for this people, for it was God who brought them to us so the they could help us. Let us thank the people who did these acts of kindness to us. Call them, text them, write them and let them know how their actions changed your life. Try to find one thing for which to be thankful a day. You may think that there is not one but you will be surprised how good God is.