We all know how important it is to have a positive attitude. We’re taught to look at the world as a half-full glass, rather than a half-empty one. We have heard before that if you express gratitude, it increases your happiness and wellbeing significantly. When you take a moment to give thanks for what you have, instead of ruminating on what you don’t have, it fills you up.
If gratitude is so good for our mental and emotional health, then why do so many of us struggle to practice it? As humans, we seem hardwired to dwell or fixate on the bad.
Some people seem to have an overabundance of this ‘negative bias’ – a focus on the negative or bad events and circumstances in life. Have you ever met someone who never seems to be grateful or happy about anything? Nothing is good enough. They can have just been given a free 5-day holiday, but they will complain about the location of that holiday!
As a result, a lot of people tend to move farther away from gratitude, which is an essential precursor to happiness. In a conversation with fellow funny man Kevin Hart about being famous, Jerry Seinfeld reflected that “when we were young we didn’t have much, but we were happy. Now-a-days people have plenty, and they wonder why they are not happy”.
We have plenty. We go without very little. We enjoy so much freedom. We are afforded so much choice and so many opportunities. As we roll through You Belong week 2021 and track towards our target of $40,000 raised for the Leukaemia Foundation, we are reminded of the many who do not have good health or enjoy life as we perhaps do. This outward focus in both thought and also response (donating or sponsoring someone who is shaving their hair), provides the deep sense of happiness and fulfilment we all want.
Jesus was the supreme role model of someone who lived outwardly, always putting the needs of others before himself. The words of John 3:30 prayed are the precursor to a life that exemplifies a ‘more of you, less of me’ approach. An attitude of gratitude can be the only result.
“He must become greater; I must become less”. John 3:30