During my lifetime I have learned some valuable lessons, the most important of which is that the source of most problems is myself. I know this isn't a popular sentiment in today's world, where it is fashionable to blame anything or anyone but oneself for the self-inflicted wounds of bad choices and the dire consequences of immoral behavior. The dominant religious philosophy in the world today, Leftism, has spent the better part of the last 50 years inculcating in people that they are not responsible for themselves, the current gun-control debate is a perfect example. But I have found that the more responsibility I take for my own life, the more I not only improve my own outlook but that of those around me as well.
It is an over simplification to say that problems occur in one's life because of bad choices. Of course this is true, but there is something deeper at work in the creation of trouble and strife in a person's life. I believe that at the very core of bad choices is a lack of gratitude. Gratitude is the linchpin of happiness, without it, the joyous self is cannibalized by anger, hatred and pettiness. Under the influence of these darker emotions it is more difficult, if not impossible, to make moral and wise decisions. It is as if these dark emotions cover the moral brain with a thick haze that won't allow reason and probity to penetrate. And it all begins with gratitude for the blessings of life, and not the constant coveting of what others possess. This applies not only to material things but talent, looks and intellectual ability. Gratefulness not only includes acknowledging the blessings in one's own life, but being genuinely happy for the blessings in others lives, without coveting them for the self. The truly grateful, and by extension happy, person will use the achievements of others to inspire themselves and not to wallow in defeatism and victim hood.
The grateful person values life more and therefore is more concerned with making choices which honor it and make it even stronger. People who are grateful don't usually commit horrible acts against fellow human beings. They actually make the world a better place, whether on a large scale or in just their own corner of it. I have found that once gratitude has chased away the darker thoughts of envy, self-defeatism and despair, my ability to think clearly and make better choices for my life increases greatly. Everyone has blessings on which to build an edifice of gratitude, even if it is as basic as having woken up alive. The trouble with life is not enough gratitude, once you begin to develop this valuable resource within yourself you will be amazed at the heights to which you can climb.
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