We all like to think that being thankful comes naturally to us. You imagine yourself walking through life smiling at everyone and feeling the sun shine down on you, like the very best version of yourself. However, the truth is that being thankful is often a struggle for most of us.
Whether you think of yourself as someone who always looks on the bright side or not, we tend to reach for negativity far more quickly than we do to positivity. This is because, as humans, we all have negativity bias, where we give a lot more of our attention to negative things and experiences than we do to positive ones.
If you think about it, you’ll probably find that the words you use to describe negative things and experiences are a lot more detailed and diverse than the ones you use to describe positive ones. So you can start to see how that goes some of the way in explaining why we describe a bad job interview as “dreadful and embarrassing” whilst an interview that went well would be described as just “okay.”
When your brain is programmed to focus on all of the negative things about your life, it’s harder to feel grateful at the same time.
Comparison is the thief of joy
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, ‘comparison is the thief of joy’? Social comparison is an innate psychological phenomenon where we try to understand how our own life ranks by comparing ourselves with other people.
In more recent times, keeping score has become second nature as our use of social media continues to rise. Comparing your crappy day to someone else’s ‘best bits’ doesn’t make anyone feel good. This not only depletes our happiness, but it can also make it next to impossible to feel thankful for what we have.
How can you feel content with what you have when you’re always thinking about what you don’t have?
There’s no getting away from it, committing to living in the present is difficult. That’s because we’re programmed to be thinking about upcoming events all the time.
We’ve all heard the questions before. Where do you see yourself in ten years? What are your new year’s resolutions? When are you settling down? Because of this, we often feel the need to always be doing, at all times. To always be striving for the next big thing. Instead of enjoying what you’ve already worked hard for.
What do you think? Do you find it difficult to be thankful? Let me know in the comments below!