Okay well first off, sorry that I was unable to post yesterday since I was out and about travelling but parts of this were written, or at least formulated in my head, yesterday so I suppose that counts. On to the prompt:
I think this is a fairly important question and one that everyone must ask themselves. In a world of consumerism and advertisements, it's easy to forget to be grateful for all that you have. The fact that you are able to read this means you have access to the internet, a great privilege in itself. Also, it means you are able to see. That is another great gift that you have. Oh, and you can read too! That is also an ability that not everyone has. Now, I am aware that you can easily get someone (or something) to read this and thus not need sight or literacy but still, the fact that you can do that is also a privilege!
Now I am aware that some people feel like being privileged is some sort of a crime, that you should be guilty if you are privileged. I, for one, disagree with such outcries. I am not saying you should be indifferent to the underprivileged; that would be downright wrong. All I'm saying is that you should utilize and take advantage of your privileges when you have them. Not doing so is only an insult to those who are underprivileged: it shows that you simply don’t value your privilege. I am aware that this can be complicated by other factors, but I still stand by my stance. Another issue is that some people simply use resources for the sake of it, for flaunting. I am guilty of that too actually. But the sooner one realizes that they are using more than they need to, the better it is. There is little value in dwelling on the past when you’ve already learnt the lesson.
Now I know, defining those needs is no easy task. It's hard and it requires having a centered mind. And sometimes we make mistakes: we misjudge and unintentionally hurt people. It's not a good thing, of course. But really, do you need to dwell over that one incident every night and make yourself miserable? I believe that we don't. This is not to say that I don't rethink and imagine myself in old incidents, I do. Nobody is 100% perfect. However, I don't think of them as much now. It's immensely liberating, if I am being honest with you. There is immense power in having a future to look forward to, sure. But it's no parallel to the power of the present. The power of 'now'.
Be grateful that you are alive, breathing, and (hopefully) healthy. It's a lot to be grateful about. Don't let the shopping malls get to you, don't let consumerism trick you into believing that you are just 'one product away' from being happy. You are not. You are already happy. Because as Matt Haig said: you were born worthy of love, and you remain worthy of love. Nothing changes that simple fact.
To be different is to be human. Life isn't a vertical stairway that you climb only by pushing others down; it's an infinite plane where everyone is moving towards their ideal self. Here, progress is not pushing people out of your way. Here, progress is moving towards your image of the ‘ideal self’. Even if today wasn’t the best of days, you learnt something new! You made progress. Of course, progress is not the same thing as advancement. Simply going straight after you’ve made a wrong turn will not give you progress towards your ‘superior self’. Your experience, however bad or good, does give you knowledge that you can then use to progress, though. So that’s what I believe in: learn from the past but remember, don’t get stuck in the past. You see, the future is basically a present that will come and if you waste your current present worrying about the present that is about to come and after that worry about the gone presents, then you will… waste your entire life pretty much. As Master Oogway (from Kung Fu Panda) said: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present!” and he was on-point.
But there is one thing that I didn't cover here yet and I cannot conclude a post on gratitude without it: the people you love and the people who love you. This, in my opinion, is one of the greatest assets one has. I have parents that love me and care for me, and I feel the same about them. I honestly cannot imagine where I would be if it weren't for my parents. I am very, very grateful for them. I probably might have said things in my childhood like "I wish I had different parents! They would do x for me and get me y" but now I look at such memories with subtle-but-there guilt. I know everyone has such moments in their life but still, the very fact that I thought of my parents and like that! It pains my heart. Another group of people who love me and I love them so much are my friends. After family, they have been the ones who have helped me get to where I am today. They have (and continue to) play such a huge part in my life today. If I were to reborn once again, I really hope I am born with the same group of friends and, in fact, even the same parents. Forget another life, I just dream that I maintain friendship with them until I leave this world. Having such people is actually one of my greatest achievements. Not those medals from olympiads and sports, not those trophies, not those certificates, no. It is my family and my friends that are one of the biggest 'gems' I have been given and I am truly grateful for that.