The Daily Stoic for December 29th, “Give Thanks”.
“In all things we should try to make ourselves be as grateful as possible. For gratitude is a good thing for ourselves, in a manner in which justice, commonly held to belong to others, is not. Gratitude pays itself back in large measure. —SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 81.19”
Today, a stranger opened a door to let me in because my hands were holding food and a coffee. I said “thank you” to the stranger, but it’s true that it was something “mechanic”. I wondered, reading Seneca’s lines today, how many of those gestures go really unnoticed. How many of them happening today can we remember tomorrow?
We grow more selfish every day. Not just us, as individuals, but all of us as a society. Especially on western societies.
The phenomenon of the millennials, and all the criticism associated with them -being lazy, ungrateful, spoiled, incapable of doing any serious work…- is just the result of this process. We grow up having everything, and we learn to take things for granted.
Obviously, this is a generalization, and as such, subject to error and exceptions. But when you are raised thinking that you deserve stuff, that you own this and that, and that the world owes you something, you don’t learn to understand the value of things.
And we should be grateful. For so many things… Both big and small. I am grateful to be alive, to be able to be writing this stoic and traveling instead of being working at a cubicle and feeling miserable. For the love of my life, for my mother surviving cancer… and yes, for that stranger that opened the door today to me.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Give Thanks”, reminds us that we should be grateful every day. Not just of what we have, or the things we take for granted, but every little gesture, every little act of kindness, every little smile…