A recent posting to my Facebook page by a friend was intended to remind readers, including me, that instead of complaining about gas prices going up, we had a choice: to be grateful. Huh? Yes, the post noted, we can be grateful that we “aren’t sitting on a concrete floor in a train terminal, holding a cat and wondering if our home and everyone we love has been blown to bits.”
I am not necessarily a fan of looking at other people’s bad fortune as a form of self-inspiration. But I am a fan of our knowing and acting upon the knowledge that we can decide what it is we focus our attention on. And further I am a fan of finding and implanting a sense of relativity into our thinking, which can sometimes be rather random. Finally, I am a huge fan of the many wonders and benefits of gratitude, which is consistently highlighted as one of the main elements of every course on how to become a happier person.
As for facing the truth, yes, it is true that gas prices are going up. Rather than falling into some sort of despair about the economy and inflation, it would be wiser to stop and ask ourselves some relevant questions about this “tragedy.” Does it really affect our lives? Can we do anything about those prices to undermine the impact, such as arranging for carpools to work or school? Can we suggest to our employer that we work from home three days a week to drive less and that way, spend less on gas? And, can we see that our gas price increase does not compare – in its tragic nature – to what people fleeing oppression are going through.
Yes, during COVID, many of us have been unable to go to weddings in person for the last several years.
And, yes, we have all had to deal with the terrors of uncertainty when it’s come to this virus.
Yes, too many of us have had to bear unknowable sadness at being separated from our families, our older relatives, our newly born grandchildren. The human condition is such that many of the worst (and best of events in our life) we didn’t “sign up” for or know in advance would occur. But we are here and we are where we are now. So how can we most “successfully,” happily deal with what life doles out to us.
Moreover, even though we may not feel as energetic or happy as we would like to, we are intelligent folks who seek to be content, treat others well and live happy lives. So… what are our choices?
- Maybe we could try to make the best of what’s been given us?
- Maybe we could reach out to others less fortunate or less able who could use our help?
- Maybe we could contemplate what’s most important to us and aim to conform our behavior to our values?
- Maybe we could “practice gratitude” daily and discover we actually were happier?
- And maybe, just maybe, we could look around at the plight of so many and recognize that, relatively speaking, we probably have it pretty good.