How to Feel Grateful, Vol. 2

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daily-gratitudeI’m on a never-ending pursuit of happiness.

You are, too. You might not realize that’s what you’re doing. But you are.

Our human instinct is to grab, and take, and capitalize, and steal, and stuff our pockets, and hoard.

Me, me, me.

How can I have more?

How can I benefit?

How can I feel the best?

Sometimes, I don’t have answers. Only questions.

But sometimes, I have answers.

Sometimes, I actually know what the hell I’m talking about.

How to Feel Happy

I titled this post “How to Feel Grateful, Vol. 2” (You can read Vol. 1 here—though it’s among my least-favorite posts), because gratitude is a prerequisite to happiness.

You will not feel the thing we label “happiness,” if you are not first grateful for all that you have.

And you have A LOT.

“Life is short, life is very short. I like life. I like it. I feel like even if it ends up being short, I got lucky to get—to have it, because life is an amazing gift when you think about what you get with a basic life. Not even a particularly lucky life, or a healthy life. If you have a life, it’s a—here is your boilerplate deal with life. This is basic cable, what you get, when you get life. You get to be on earth. First of all, oh my God, what a location.

“This is earth, and for trillions of miles in every direction it fucking sucks. So bad! It’s so shitty that your eyes bolt out of your head, because it sucks so bad. You get to be on earth and look at shit as long as you’re not blind or whatever it is, that you get to be here, you get to eat food. You get to put bacon in your mouth! I mean, when you have bacon in your mouth, it doesn’t matter who is president or anything, you just ahh, ahhhh. Every time I’m eating bacon I think, ‘I could die right now,’ and I mean it. That’s how good life is.” – Louis CK

Here’s how to feel happy:

1. Love yourself.

2. Give more than you take.

a. Give more than you take in your human relationships. Do the little things. Say nice things. Don’t say mean things. Apologize. Say “Thank you.” Say “I love you.” When you feel like you’re getting more than you’re giving, you should work extra hard to give more. Like a contest.

b. Give more than you take in your career. Treat the people you deal with—coworkers and customers—with respect. Give, give, give. Do more. Try harder. Be the best. Then, they give you more money. If they don’t give you more money, another employer will because they want the best person on their team. When you really figure it out, you eventually just make your own job.

c. Give more than you take spiritually. I don’t know what you believe. For the purposes of this, I’m not sure it matters. Just don’t pray and plead and beg when the shit hits the fan. Don’t cry out for help without being appreciative of life’s blessings also. Pray when it’s good. Or just say “Thank you” to the universe. Mean it. Feel it. Bottle that good. Then give some of it to someone else so that they can do the same.

3. Get plenty of sleep.

4. Exercise.

5. Be kind to others.

6. Don’t procrastinate.

“But Matt! You’re totally miserable! Why should I listen to you?”

Don’t, if you don’t want to. Feel shitty, like me. Knock yourself out.

I know I’m right because it’s hard. I know I’m right because it sounds like work. I know it’s hard because these are all of the things I’m NOT doing.

My favorite writer has already written it all a hundred times a hundred different ways and he says it all much better than I do.

You should read it. And you should pretend it’s the most-important thing you’ve ever read.

Then you should change your life.

Thank You

Today we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States.

A day to count our blessings. A day to say “thanks.”

I am grateful for the air I breathe.

I am grateful for my beautiful son.

I am grateful for a warm home on a cold day.

I am grateful for a reliable vehicle to get me to my destinations.

I am grateful for food.

I am grateful for music.

I am grateful for family.

I am grateful for friends.

I am grateful for you.

I am grateful for another opportunity to keep trying. Each day, a chance to make my life what I want it to be. A chance to wake up and do what is necessary to achieve peace. To seize happiness and make it mine.

It won’t be by frantically grabbing scraps as if there isn’t enough to go around.

It will be by sharing the treasure trove with others. By sharing a bottomless well of joy with everyone willing to make the journey there, and by encouraging the unwilling to try.

I am alive.

I am blessed.

I am loved.

I love.

You keep looking for miracles, but you don’t always see them.

Go find the nearest mirror and take a good, hard, long look.

Because you’re the miracle.

And I’ve never felt more gratitude for you than I do right now.

Happy Thanksgiving.

20 thoughts on “How to Feel Grateful, Vol. 2”

  1. Another phenomenal post, Matty. Thank you for trying, growing, and proving that it’s possible! God Bless You!

  2. You’re a great guy, Matt. I’m grateful I’ve had the opportunity to “know” you through your wonderful blog, and I hope today is a good day.

  3. Happy Thanksgiving – it is quite something to be able to see the things we have versus those we do not. Kudos to you for seeing the blessings in your life 🙂

    1. I only listed 1 percent of them.

      Every one of us, but me more than others, needs a reality check. Like, every 15 minutes.

      Thank you for saying hi.

  4. Miracles in the everyday if you can see them. There is no ‘Thanksgiving’ where I come from but I believe in gratitude and saw many miracles today that I am grateful for. Thank you for this beautiful post.

    1. Thank you for thinking it’s beautiful. And thank you for adding to the beauty. Gratitude is so important.

      Appreciate you reading and caring. Thank you.

  5. I like what you said about giving– and making it like a contest. I feel like that is going to stick with me… Hopefully I put it to some good use.

    1. Thank you.

      I really mean that. I think we should damn near panic when we feel the shift, knowing we owe. Knowing we’ve taken too much or not given enough.

      You just, know.

      When someone’s a better friend.

      When someone loves more.

      When someone makes the most effort.

      When someone provides more kind acts.

      When someone is more honest, loyal, supportive, giving, etc.

      And when we feel that, we should feel a surge to give in whatever ways we’re able or should.

      Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. Financially. Mentally.

      Until imbalance is restored the other way.

      Because then we feel great because we’re generous. And then even more good comes our way.

      It’s worth the effort. To deliver joy. And feel it too.

      I’m so flattered you read this stuff. Thank you.

      1. Of course I read it! I also really like your style– I like line by line stuff, it works well for my manic little brain.

        I’ll write more on it at some point but I know that one of the huge turning points away from my rock bottom was when I left Dalat, Vietnam (aka hell) for Cambodia… the suffering I encountered there and the work and service you couldn’t help but stumble into (orphanages were everywhere) was just absolutely astounding. It shattered me in the best possible way. Difficult to describe.

        1. I will look forward to reading all of it. Very much.

          “I like your style.”

          Is neurotic spazzing a style?

          Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. And that you have a better excuse than I do for being awake at 4:30 a.m.!

  6. This is a beautiful post, Matt. Then again, I expect nothing less from you. Hope you had a good day yesterday.

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Matt Fray

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