I think we all need a little more gratitude in society. Everyone is constantly dissatisfied. We are dissatisfied with companies. We are dissatisfied with government. We are dissatisfied with our products. We are dissatisfied with our relationships with others. We are dissatisfied about our jobs. Worse yet, we are dissatisfied about our own lives.

When I see outraged protesters yelling at the government, I wonder if any of them stopped to be grateful that we live in a society where this kind of free speech is tolerated.

When I hear people complain about the poor customer service policies some big companies have, I wonder if any of them stopped to be grateful that the company has a customer service policy at all.

When I hear people complain about how bad their life is, I wonder if they ever stopped to express gratitude for all the opportunities they have been given.

We live in a society today with free speech, democratic elections and overwhelming abundance. We have an almost innumerable supply of consumer goods designed to make our lives easier. The majority of us don’t have to worry about starving to death or living on the street.

We live in a capitalistic society which gives us the opportunity to create our own businesses and offers us the potential to influence millions of people. Such a system allows us to expand to our true potential. Regardless of your political convictions, be grateful that the system is still better than an oppressive dictatorship.

We live in an information era where knowledge is free and plentiful. We can see different viewpoints on every different subject. We live in an era of scientific advancement where we can capitalize on the research or professionals. Literacy is very high and if I were to ask you to tell me about just about any subject you’d just google it and could tell me in a few minutes.

Try to take some time every day to be grateful for your opportunities. Seeing as you are reading this from a computer monitor, you have plenty.

Don’t worry about the things you don’t have. Instead, spend your time focusing on all of the great abundances that you do have.

My favorite example of this is the motto from Alcoholics Anonymous. “God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

I personally practice this feeling of gratitude several times a day. Just by doing this I immediately feel a whole lot happier. It also helps me solve my problems by showing me the resources I already have.

Gratitude is a practice. Anyone can do it, and it usually makes you feel a lot calmer and happier, so why not?

Learn to appreciate everything. Learn to appreciate the things that seem initially negative. For example, if you are having difficulties dealing with a particular person, be appreciative that they are teaching you how to better deal with difficult people. Even if you are experiencing physical pain, you can appreciate that you couldn’t feel the pain if you were dead.

I’m not trying to make you feel guilty for complaining. Gratitude is simply a practice. Learning to use gratitude can make you a whole lot happier. If you’d rather sulk in self pity, anger or grief then that is your choice. I’d rather be happy and peaceful.

Start right now. Look around where you are sitting. What are you grateful for? Don’t just be grateful for the obvious things. Be grateful for everything. Express gratitude for the ability to see these words, or if you are blind then at least the ability to read them. Express gratitude for your ability to think.

Gratitude isn’t the same as giving up on your goals and dreams. Gratitude isn’t the practice of, “Well, my life is pretty good I guess so I’ll just give up.” That is complacency, which can often be the antithesis to gratitude. Gratitude fits into the proactive lifestyle. Gratitude simply means that you appreciate what you already have. You must also be grateful for the opportunity to improve even more.

Besides if you aren’t practicing gratitude, then when you do achieve your goals, you won’t appreciate them so they will be worthless anyways. In that sense, gratitude is a critical component of goal-setting.

Just take a few moments each day to look around and be grateful. Gratitude allows you to see how inconsequential all of the little things that bother us are. If your spouse nags you, use gratitude to be thankful that you have someone who loves you.

What are you grateful for?