Haste engulfs us and the future consumes us. Immersed in the daily rush and with a constant eye on future goals, we often take for granted many of the gifts of the present life. Practicing gratitude, on the other hand, involves stopping to start appreciating what we have. But what if we extended gratitude to those things that weren't?
For each route you choose, there are others that you will not take
"We must learn to be grateful for what was not", wrote the psychologist Maritere Lee referring to the way in which gratitude can play a liberating role, which allows us to make peace with our past, with what has not succeeded. and, in general, with everything that could have been, but which finally was not.
Throughout our life, for some things to be, others cannot be. We can better understand this concept if we imagine that in every point of life we are faced with many paths. Some are very similar, others diametrically opposed. Every time we make a decision, however small, we choose a path and the others close automatically.
Therefore, for some things to come true, others must disappear from our universe. Clinging to the other paths that we still see, but we did not have the courage to take or we did not choose because life has pushed us in another direction, it is completely unproductive and generates unhappiness.
If you often ask yourself “what would have happened if…?”, Chances are you got stuck at some of those intersections on the way. Consequently, it will be very difficult for you to advance because you carry with you the weight of the possibilities that were not and can no longer be. This question implies that you have not made peace with your decisions and you are not comfortable in the present because you feel the need to continually look back. Without realizing it, you mortgage your present for something that will no longer be.
Gratitude for what was not
On the other hand, feeling grateful even for all that was not, but which at a certain point was a possibility, allows us to free ourselves from the burden of the past. Accepting our decisions helps us get rid of resentment, resentment or remorse, allowing us to build a better future.
Learning to give thanks for what hasn't happened also helps us make peace with our old "me", with the person who made those decisions and who brought us to where we are today. After all, as Hermann Hesse wrote: "the life of every man is a path towards himself".
This means that there are no good or bad roads, in the narrow sense of both terms, but that the decisions we make are the ones we need to grow, even if they don't seem the most appropriate at first. It means being aware that our choices may not be the best, but they sure made sense to us the moment we made them, with the degree of maturity and knowledge we had then.
So, how to feel gratitude for what was not?
Celebrate all your decisions because they made you the person you are today. Even what you consider "bad decisions" have allowed you to grow and acquire the wisdom of life.
Celebrate what you have built and be aware that to get to where you are, you have had to leave other things in the past. After all, maturing does not necessarily and only mean adding, but also learning to subtract.
Don't cling to what couldn't be. Feel grateful for the different possibilities and open yourself to the new paths that await you.