A few days ago, I wrote about the guilt I felt over not being grateful enough “for all the other positive things in my life”.
But according to the Nov 28 issue of the Daily Stoic newsletter, stoics practice a more “inclusive and counterintuitive” form of gratitude. Instead of just being grateful for just the good things in life, they practice gratefulness for life itself.
“Convince yourself that everything is the gift of the gods… that things are good and always will be,” said Marcus Aurelius.
Could I find a way to convince myself to be grateful even for the periods of melancholy? Can I find it in myself to show gratitude for the heart-racing, finger-numbing anxiety I experience?
According to the stoics, it’s possible. Even if it isn’t easy.
The newsletter article reiterates that “if we can zoom out for that more complete view, understanding and appreciation can emerge.”
The fact that I am still alive is something to be grateful for, even if it doesn’t always feel like a good thing in the moment. It’s still something that my future self will likely be happy about. (Perhaps I can implement “future gratefulness”.)
The other thing that the Daily Stoic mentions is that “everything that has happened and is happening is bringing you to where you are”.
All of our experiences contribute to making us into the people we are and will become.