Taking things for granted is my topic today, following some major inspiration from a relative of mine recently, let me explain….
“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” Gilbert K. Chesterton.
The week before last, my brother and I visited our Uncle up (up from us Southerners a least) in the Midlands as he has been poorly following a cancer diagnosis. He happened to say something that really resonated with me. He is currently experiencing ongoing pain and discomfort due to his illness. He said to us, “never underestimate how good it is to feel normal.” We spoke about this for a while, and he spoke of not taking “normal” for granted. This struck me. I know it’s incomparable, but I know that when I’ve had a flu bug, I have yearned to feel normal and be in my usual state. I can only try to imagine what it is like to be seriously ill or in pain or even to be told that you are never likely to feel that way (“normal”) again. I have been doing my best to celebrate feeling normal since then, more so than usual. I’ve written often about finding beauty in the “ordinary” and championing things we sometimes take for granted, and that leads me to this article today, whereby I wanted to highlight why we must all stop taking things (such as feeling normal) for granted. In my hypnotherapy consulting rooms, I see so many people who would love to feel “normal” – whatever that means to them.
Why Do We Take So Much for Granted?
One reason is that our minds run riot so much of the time, yearning for a better future or regretting aspects of the past.
We pine for hot weather when it is wet and rainy, and yearn for rainfall when we get drought warnings after a few weeks of sunshine.
We’re often grasping at something else that we need to make our life perfect. We think, “Someday, when X happens, I’ll be happy.”
Or we regret the past, like the end of a relationship, poor decisions made, financial setbacks. We think, “If only X hadn’t happened, my life would be so much better.”
But whether in the future or past, there is one place our minds are not.
The present. So that is the first way to stop taking so much for granted in life….
Live in the Present:
We can have goals about our future and take action towards them. We can reflect healthily and learn from the past. Of course.
In order to stop taking so much in life for granted we need to not become consumed with the past or the future and spend time appreciating the present.
Many of the happiest people make it an aim to “live in the present” as much as they can, in balanced fashion. That equips us with the ability to notice the things around us and appreciate more of what we have.
Therefore, do this…. Right now, do this… Be aware of yourself reading this post. Notice the environment around you. Take a moment to do that now.
This is your reality. This is your life.
What can you be grateful for and appreciative of in your reality right now?
You can start with the fact that you can read and are reading this right now.
Go and read this article for more guidance on how to express gratitude in your life and become happier:
The Science of Gratitude, it’s Benefits and Ways to Express it.
Of course, you could easily list all the things you don’t have and feel upset about as a result. Or those very same things could become your goals, that you are going to passionately work towards while being appreciative of all that you do have in your life right now.
Learn to relish the present firstly. There are always likely to be goals you wish to achieve in the future – isn’t it exciting that there is potential and the promise of so much to enjoy in the now?
Secondly then, and as I suggested in the previous point…
Tune In and Notice Your Surroundings:
Modern day living with it’s wonderful technology and constant media access, we are so engaged with the content of our screens that we have stopped tuning into the real-world around us. We then end up losing track of what is really important; the work we do, the people we love, the experience of being alive, and all the things we already do have.
Your children laughing (instead of screaming – as is the case so often in my house!), the birds singing in the morning, the dog barking with excitement about going out for a walk, the books you have on your shelves, the free thought you have, the fresh air you are breathing. This is tuning you into your surroundings.
Get into the habit of being aware and conscious of your environment and all that is around you. Recognise your work, your family, your home and friendships. Then notice the food you are eating, the senses you are engaging, marvel at running water coming out of your taps, the clothes you are wearing and the fact that you are able to think and feel at all. Recognise also that many people dream about some of that which you may take for granted.
So ask yourself; what do I have that others may not? What would it be like if I did not have this in my life? It’ll give you an idea of what you may be taking for granted and can also bring you more joy and satisfaction in those things. You can build on this greatly by reading this brilliant article here: Using Stoic Negative Visualisation With Self-Hypnosis.
Our health is something so often taken for granted. We often only really realise how good we have it when we suddenly don’t have it so good. Be present and grateful for your health and remember how fortunate you are to have it. Do what you can to preserve it, take care of yourself physically and psychologically. Importantly though, as I wrote right at the beginning today, celebrate feeling “normal” from time to time and do not take it for granted or abuse it.
“Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has many – not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” – Charles Dickens.
I watched a recorded episode of the Channel Five documentary series Violent Child, Desperate Parents (with behavioural therapist Mandy Saligari) last night and the smallest amount of effort made by two parents to appreciate each other and understand each other better, made a massive impact upon the entire family (they had 3 children with another on the way). Showing an interest, exchanging smiles and seeking to understand the other person’s reality is a pretty great way to cherish moments in simple fashion. These little things help your relationship thrive. Research shows that people who make their partner feel secure in their relationships tend to have healthier, happier relationships and fewer psychological problems.
“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” – Cynthia Ozick.
Thirdly then, I recommend that you develop a culture of…..
When you strive to help others, it leads to you recognising and realising so much about yourself that you have to be grateful for.
Who can you cheer up, or support, or encourage, or give some love to today? Those you are close to, and those who you do not even know will all benefit from some help you can offer. It’ll ensure you stop taking so much for granted too. It is a real privilege to be able to serve others in any way. It is also incredibly fulfilling and will help you see beyond so much materialism that people usually desire in life. Be present, tune into your surroundings and help others. That is a simple recipe to start helping you to stop taking so much for granted in your life. What are you waiting for? Start right now….
Tell your nearest and dearest that you love them.
Breathe the air.
Stroke your pet.
Thank your friends for being there.
Share a joke.
Recognise and enjoy feeling normal.
Celebrate life. Right here. Right now.
Go live without taking so much for granted.
Have some of themes here resonated with you? Then have a read of these pages:
1. Do you need help or support in a particular area of your life?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others? Are you a hypnotherapist looking for stimulating and career enhancing continued professional development and advanced studies?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist looking to fulfil your ambitions or advance your career?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.
Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar. Alternatively, go grab a copy of my Science of self-hypnosis book.