Trade expectations for gratitude

A hokey piece of internet wisdom I came across last week: trade expectations for gratitude. I very likely saw it hand-lettered on a pastel Instagram post. #wisdom

However jejune its philosophic depth may be, the quote stuck with me as I navigated an exhausting week. I toyed with, and liked, the relatively high bar it set: it’s not just enough to eliminate your expectations, or to practise a little gratitude every day – you should, in fact, strive to extinguish frustrations by being profoundly, stupidly grateful for what  you do have.

So, I’ve tried.

When I missed the time of the tais market I replaced my irritation with appreciation for the fact it was even on. When my bag of market vegetables hurt my shoulder I felt lucky for how much nutritious food I could afford to buy. When a friend adjusted my day slightly by rescheduling a Skype chat I caught myself mid-groan and reflected on how fortunate I was to have busy friends making time to chat with me.

This is sounding a bit too saccharine sweet, now – but the intention is good.

In many ways here, I’m starkly, overwhelmingly privileged, and embarrassingly, it’s quite easy to overlook that – its ubiquity means it fades into the background. Ideally, I probably wouldn’t need a reminder – lest of all one I now think I cribbed from Kourtney Kardashian’s Instagram – but as another piece of pop culture wisdom I saw on the internet tells me, start where you are, and if a little bit of self-coaching is what’s required to make be begin to realise the enormity of my good fortune here then so be it. Anything to keep me focused, present and grateful – and to curry favour with #blessed Insta influencers.

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