How do I move towards starting each day feeling grateful for the day and eager to get out and embrace the day (instead of wanting to burrow further under the covers and hope the day just passes me by, day after fucking day)? I know that on my death bed, be it tomorrow or 50 years from now, I will *profoundly* regret a life wasted feeling sorry for myself. I know that, and yet I can't stop feeling sorry for myself.
Objectively, I understand that most (any?) problems I might have are first-world problems; I'm a tall white male born into the middle class.
• I don't make much money, but I know there are folks who are really genuinely living pay check to pay check, and even more who are for reals homeless.
• My wife and I have our squabbles, but I know we love each other, and that she would probably step in front of a truck to protect me.
• I had some terrible stuff happen to me as a child, but I lived through it; I got the chance to make my life whatever I want in spite of that terrible experience.
• I lost all my possessions in a house fire not too long ago, but I wasn't (physically) hurt; again, I got to carry on.
• I have a dear uncle, halfway across the world, who I am in told is in very ill health. Terminal. I think of him often, and thank the universe for my good health.
So, I should be grateful for all of this, and I guess on some level, I am grateful. But I can't believe this is what people are talking about when they say "be grateful for every day".
I tried Naikan
(a kind of Gratitude Journal) for a little more than six months, but I quit over a year ago because I couldn't see the point. Every day (well, almost) I faithfully wrote down my three or more things that I was grateful for that day (and if appropriate, shared them with my wife), and then… nothing. I don't know but I guess it "didn't take." Maybe I was "doing it wrong"?
I see a movie, or a video like this
, or read an article that tells a life-and-death story, that crystallises the value of life. And the thought flits through my brain: "you've got to pull yourself up! Snap out of it!" …And then it's gone. Or even if it isn't, even if it sticks for a few hours or a day, it *always* dissipates! How do I cultivate this so that the feeling I have when I watch the video or read the thing lasts all day or all week (or just until tomorrow morning, even)? What is the next step? I count myself as lucky/grateful/fortunate to such-and-such; then?
Me: Life sucks. I suck. boo. hiss.
Someone: You must value every day as though it were the only day you had to live.
Me: Yeah, you're absolutely right, but still, boo. hiss.
I combed through these other questions that relate to gratitude: link1
but I guess they weren't as helpful as I'd hoped (see, there I go again!). This one [link5
] was a little closer, but somehow still doesn't feel concrete enough (?). What I mean is "start a gratitude journal" or "give meaningful thoughts of thanks before each meal" or that kind of advice, while much appreciated, is not what I'm looking for.
Am I just a lazy ingrate? Am I somehow fooling myself to think I've tried being grateful and it didn't work, when in fact I never really tried? How does one "really try?"
Some snowflake stuff:
• I tend to vacillate between Athiesm and Agnosticism. Religious stuff rubs me the wrong way. Spiritual stuff, much less so.
• I have a long history of depression/dysthymia; I've been on and off medication for 20 years, currently *on*, for close to two years. I'm MUCH better than I was *off*, but still wonder if I'm on the right dose; my doctor's base position is "wait and see".
• I believe that on a daily basis I am very clear in my expression(s) of gratitude to those around me for things they do or have done for me, especially my wife.
Question title explained (?) here