- Ashy Akakpo
The Art of Gratitude
I’ve never been much of the pessimist type, I have always been the one to constantly look at the world in ‘the craziest, optimist way’. In fact, at the end of Year 13, I was voted the most inspirational person, why? Because anytime I received a bad grade or I didn’t do too well in an exam or essay, instead of me complaining and lowering my value by declaring myself a failure I’d just shrug and move on. Move forward. Use that single moment in my life to push myself to become better. To become greater.
I mastered the art of gratitude not just by practicing it alone but also by experiencing it. See, I experienced things that caused me to be grateful. In fact, I started this habit – in the summer of 2015 in which I’d ‘borrow’ an empty bottle from the kitchen, place a label on the bottle (which had the year written on it) and drop everything I was grateful for, which had happened that day inside it. I started dropping in not just slips of paper, but I started dropping in cinema tickets, and theatre tickets. I dropped in anything I was grateful for attending, receiving or experiencing. Then on New Year’s Eve, I’d sit somewhere nice and comfortable, and read each and every slip of paper. I’d reminisce on the year I had, had and laugh or smile to myself. Sometimes the slips of paper would have weird things on them like, ‘I had a slushy, drank it really quick and I didn’t get a brain freeze.’ I mean come on – you just gotta be grateful, right? Even now, I love reading over the slips of paper I’d drop in my little gratitude bottle throughout the year.
It got a little cheesy nearing mid-2016 though when I started dropping in not just things I was grateful for but also people too. I remember writing on a thin slip of white paper, the name of my crush and what he would have done that had made my day, and why I was grateful for it.
After a while, I stopped dropping people’s names and small mementoes in, and I started writing down 3 things I was grateful for in general or in particular instead. Every morning and every night. I’d be lying if I said I’ve been doing it consistently, without fail. There have been times, I’d forget or be way too tired to write anything. However, one thing I’m very certain of is that me writing down things I am grateful for has caused me to see the world differently. I stopped allowing bad circumstances to overpower me – not completely anyway. It also made me realise how fortunate I am, even when bad things tend to happen to me – I’m blessed nevertheless.
Gratitude is a form of art. Once you master gratitude, everything becomes beautiful – even though it already was. Gratitude clears your perspective, takes away the smog, the blur, the uncertainty and in its place leaves clarity.