by Doris Jucht

Should thankfulness trump ambition? Have you ever felt as if you should be more grateful for what you already have rather than focused on what you don’t? So, here’s an idea: Why not be appreciative while still wanting more? Yes, we can do both at the same time. Actually, we should exercise a balance between both every day of our lives.

Let’s start our day with being thankful, always a good starting point, with a positive outlook, focusing on what we already have, on who we give love to and on who gives us love. Let’s create a things-to-be-grateful-for inventory which will always fill us with peace and comfort, our souls with positive energy and, moreover, compassion towards others less fortunate than us. Why do we need to feel compassion towards others? Because we ourselves are others to others. Because no one is perfect. Because we all have character flaws. Because we all make mistakes. Because no matter how many things we own or how many goals we have accomplished, we will sometimes still do wrong. And because we all simply deserve the same compassion in all those cases.

The best way to understand compassion is grasping the concept itself. Compassion means sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings and misfortunes of others. Who hasn’t suffered in life? Doesn’t it feel better when we know someone cares and feels concern for us? Every time we experience an unpleasant incident with someone, before rushing to judge that person, we should ask ourselves what circumstances could’ve prompted that individual to be the way they are, to act as he or she did, or to say what he or she said. Then, we can be grateful for not having gone through those same experiences, or else for no longer reacting the same way if we did. Every single act can then result in a deep, introspective process that compassionately analyzes what we like and what we dislike about ourselves, allowing us to recognize and value potential improvements for our own benefit and, consequentially, for the benefits of others as well.

Now, let’s talk about being aspirational because being grateful for what we have does not mean we should be repressing our drive to have more or to be more. Our bodies are in constant change, and our souls are also progressing while we’re alive. So, it is our nature to move forward toward goals we set for ourselves in all areas. Whether it’s our health, our professional life, our material assets, our relationships or our spiritual path, we are in constant movement seeking improvement. Hence, it’s natural to aspire for more, which is much wider than just accumulating possessions. Yet, it is only striking the right balance between appreciation and aspiration that we get the fuel to keep on going, allowing us to achieve the ultimate goal of giving and receiving love which, by the way, only feels right when it works both ways.

Feeling thankful allows us to value the gifts life gives us. Now, who do we thank? EVERYONE– starting with our makers and ourselves, and including those who did nothing but step out of the way. On the other hand, aiming for more allows us to keep receiving that for which we will be grateful. So, what better combination? Just make sure you practice an equitable balance between both actions to live the life that you deserve.

I personally enjoy watching how the therapeutic process can assist someone through some of their most challenging moments in life. I bring nearly 20 years of experience to my sessions. Together, in a safe space, we can work through everything that is troubling you. I strive to deeply understand a client’s problem and provide guidance and feedback.

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