Barnabás Börcsök

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Always be thankful, because life is awesome

815 words • 4 minute read
personal thought

I got into the habit of writing down at night what I was thankful for that day around the time I started bullet journaling. Since then, the idea of this habit sparked many thoughts in me, and made me think about a couple of things differently than I did before. In this post, I want to share with you some of these thoughts and ideas. As always, if you have any comments on or feel like debating anything I write here, feel free to reach out to me.

The main idea is that, in there is always something to be thankful for every single day. Even if it doesn’t seem like there was anything, you can always rephrase anything that happens as something to be thankful for.

Finding what really matters

This habit helps separate the wheat from the chaff. If life goes on for a substantial amount of days, weeks or even months with little to nothing to be thankful for, then that’s a sure way to know that something is off.

Our time and energy is limited. Sometimes we spend a lot of time on things that might seem important in the moment, but then – quite literally – at the end of the day they are not the ones that matter. Of course, there are a lot of things that have to be done. Not everything we do can be put in the “thankful for” column. Still, putting next to each other the time we spend on things that we are thankful for at the end of the day and the time we actually spend on them is something worth contemplating on once in a while.

Rephrasing the things that happen

This bad thing happened to me. I am grateful for the strength to deal with the situation.
I didn't accomplish today something I wanted to. I am healthy.
Still accomplished many things today.
Not formulated. I have loving people around me.
... to share my time with him/her.
... for being able to speak foreign languages.

Something I really like about this habit is that you not only have to think about the things that happened that day, but also how you might phrase them. How we phrase and talk about the events and the world around us cascades into how we feel and think about the very same things. Spoken words, slogans and repeated sentences have a really strong power on people. The things we say shape us.1

I often feel like expecting too many things from myself. It is a great thing to push ourselves, have great expectations from our days and life in general. But then, at the end of the day, we have to cut ourselves some slack. It is okay to not get everything done in a day. It is perfectly okay to not be 100% productive every single day. Even when feeling like not accomplishing enough that day, there are many things to be thankful for. And quite surprisingly, often this very idea and way of thinking is what lets us make the most out of life, and get back up to speed to accomplish all those things we want to.

Not taking anything for granted

Stating the “obvious” might sound like a waste of time at first, but sometimes it is very far from that. It is always important to be aware of things that are important to us, and that have a special place in our life. It is extremely easy to gloss over and not appreciate some of the most important things, often times right until we lose them. The most straightforward of these being the love of others, our parents, friends, health and all our surroundings and possibilities.2

Building a habit and a mindset

Sometimes I catch myself thinking What will I write today in my journal’s “grateful” section?. Building a habit of consciously and actively considering the aspects of everyday life I wrote about so far is a really easy to implement tool to live a more thoughtful and conscientious life.3

Even if not everyday, slowing down and taking a count of the important things in our life every once in a while can never be a wrong thing to do.

  1. I think there is also a nice connection with how George Orwell approaches language in his book 1984. In this fictitious language, Newspeak, the grammar is simplified, and the vocabulary is designed to limit the individual’s ability to think and articulate concepts and ideas. ↩︎

  2. Or as Passenger wrote about it in Let Her Go, “You only need the light, when it’s burning low” and “Only miss the sun, when it starts to snow”, ↩︎

  3. I feel like this is also the final message of About Time, the 2013 British romantic comedy-drama. If you are looking for a heartfelt (and hopelessly) romantic movie, be sure to watch it. ↩︎