But there’s a deeper aspect of gratitude than just being thankful for the people and things in our life. It’s being grateful for ourselves.
This may, like self-love, sound like narcissism. What we’re talking about is something much deeper. For most of us, buried under all our emotional drama is a wounded self, a self that feels alone, unworthy and/or unsafe.
For some seekers it is very easy to accept that the ego is bad and needs to die. It builds on the old unworthiness. But this is just more story. Even though some may experience a sense of “ego-death” in awakening, the ego function remains and continues. Otherwise we could not function in the world. The actual shift is from identification with an ego concept of self to cosmic Self (or no-self). And that takes place through allowing, not rejecting.
It takes great courage to reach beyond gratitude for what is in our lives to being grateful for our life itself and who we are. We would not be here if we had no purpose or function. In the film It’s A Wonderful Life, Bailey questions the value of his life and is shown what it would have been like without him. While you may consider this a little maudlin, it illustrates how we often don’t recognize the impact we’ve had on others and the benefits we’ve brought the world. Our natural gifts can be least obvious to us as they come so naturally.
Sure, we’re not perfect in a superficial sense. That’s the nature of living in a divided reality. But finding gratitude in what we can offer is profoundly healing. It brings light to what is often a very dark place for us.
And that’s a fine thing indeed.