“I count my blessings every day, quite honestly, because I take nothing for granted.” ~Mario Andretti
You know that feeling.
When you feel bad about yourself for not being grateful enough. Maybe not often, but surely sometimes.
You are busy working hard, trying to make things work. Busy at life.
But then you see a nine-year-old painting a picture holding a brush with his toes. He has no hands.
And it hits you: You’re so busy trying to make your life better, you forget that it is already beautiful. You feel guilty for not being happy enough.
How I Found My Hidden Blessing in Life
When I left for college it was the first time I went away from home to a different city. My parents were concerned about how I would adjust to life in New Delhi. But I was excited. I wanted to do this.
As my college life began, I faced a problem: I was bad at managing my expenses. I had no idea how to spend money reasonably. Until then, my parents took care of everything.
The unspoken message had been, “You focus on your studies, and we’ll take care of your needs.”
Middle class families don’t lack in money, but the expenses are always modest. So when I ran out on my monthly share in ten days, I was horrified. Exploring the city with new friends, eating delicious meals in restaurants, buying a pair of Nike trousers all contributed to my downfall. Expecting a scolding, I told them what had happened.
But there was no scolding, just a reassuring “I’ll put more money in account today.”
A few weeks later, the same thing happened. I was sure this time they would get angry. But they didn’t. They simply poured in more money.
And that is when I realized: My parents truly loved me, but I had been taking it for granted.
They had always been there for me. Taking care of me. Loving me.
I wasn’t a spoiled child, and I knew they cared about me. But now I felt blessed. Their presence was a gift I cherished. The fact that they loved me unconditionally brought my ignorance to light.
Why Do We Take Things for Granted?
Our minds run around unchecked all the time, either waiting for a better future or regretting the past.
We’re always waiting for the perfect vacation, next promotion, more money, more whatever. We think, “Someday when X happens, I’ll be happy.”
Or we regret the past, like the end of a relationship, a lost job, or financial setbacks. We think, “If only X hadn’t happened, my life wouldn’t be a mess.”
But whether in the future or past, there is one place our minds are not.
And this is where our blessings reside.
How to Stop Taking Things for Granted and Feel Blessed
When I catch a cold, I realize how nice it feels to be healthy. When there are thunderstorms on the day I plan to go out, I realize the joy of a cheery, sunny day with a cool breeze blowing across my face.
Because our minds are so used to running around uncontrollably, we don’t realize that our focus isn’t where we are. It is almost always somewhere else.
But hidden blessings are available right now, if you can take a step back and notice where you are.
Seriously, do this.
Look at yourself reading this post. Notice the environment around you. I’ll give you a moment.
This is your real life. Here are the blessings hidden from your incessant mind.
Ask yourself: What good things have brought me where I am today?
You can start with the fact that you can read. You’re smart enough to follow blogs like Tiny Buddha. What about your wonderful friends? Your pet? Your health?
Just like time, blessings are relative.
Growing up, I went to a school with lots of children who came from rich families. It would have been easy to focus on what other students had that I lacked, such as new lunch boxes and fancy bags.
However, I was nothing close to sad or miserable. In fact, I had fun at school. Why did I have fun, despite having less than others? I recognized how I was fortunate.
My parents grew up in villages and received modest educations. And yet, they were smart enough to understand the importance of a good education, and made sure that my sister and I studied in the best English school of the city.
Now, that is a blessing.
I didn’t feel unlucky. I feel my parents did their part wonderfully.
It’s time I do mine.
Hidden in life challenges are some wonderful blessings. The difference lies in how you look at them.
You can list all the things you don’t have and feel sad about it.
Or you could put those very same things as your goals, chase them with passion, and build tremendous character.
Time to Thank, Time to Love
Yes, there will always be things you want to accomplish. There are goals yet to be realized. The future surely does promise better things.
But you know what?
The present, too, is a portal to hidden gifts.
Underneath your routine life is a hidden treasure trove of countless blessings. Each of those blessings has helped you reach where you are today. They played a crucial role in molding your life into the masterpiece it is right now.
So go right now.
Tell your mother you love her.
Pat you pet.
Thank your friends for showing up.
Celebrate life. Right here. Right now.