Gratitude and Courage

Gratitude and courage and intimately intertwined. Without appreciating something one will not fight to preserve it. Practice of gratitude is not linked to a particular belief system. For those that are spiritually inclined, gratitude may be felt towards a higher entity, whereas those of a materialistic, empirical persuasion may feel gratitude towards an incredibly favourable chance of being fed, safe and warm in an otherwise empty universe. Regardless of whom gratitude is felt towards, just the fact that it is felt gives rise to courage. Few examples may help illustrate. When one is grateful for their partner, they are more likely to find strength and courage to work on the relationship and preserve it, whereas someone who is not may take off and leave at the first sign of trouble. When you cherish having your kids in your life you will put in more time into being with them and will be a lot more engaged in their upbringing. Those who solely see their children as a burden may take a much more hands-off approach or worse, look to escape. When you actively value the society and community you live in you will fight to preserve it and better it; when you do not you will stand idly by while it gets compromised or destroyed. When you are grateful to be alive and that you friends, family, neighbours are alive you will not pass the opportunity to protect life around you. When you see every day that you are alive as a gift, and never a certainty and a right, you will cherish the day more and at the same time not be bound by a foolish notion that you will live forever. You will be a lot more aware of precariousness of human life which paradoxically leads to freedom, because if tomorrow is not guaranteed then there really isn’t an eternity that you are risking with a courageous deed. So, there you have a major paradox – by staring mortality in the eyes and realizing that the fact that you are alive today is a miracle, of divine providence or favourable chance, you are more likely to take greater risks, as now eternity is not the potential cost of action and at the same time you are more likely to put the gift to use, that is, seize the day.  For us to cultivate courage and live the best and the most meaningful lives possible we must also cultivate gratitude in our daily lives, as one does not go without the other.

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