Be Grateful for What You Have, Past and Present

Welcome back to Mid-Week Meditations , Lifehacker’s weekly dip in the pool of stoic wisdom and a guide to using its waters to meditate and improve your life.

This week’s election belongs to Epictetus. During this time of gratitude, he reminds us that we should show gratitude for what we have:

“He is a wise man who does not grieve about what he does not have, but rejoices about what he has.”

He also says that gratitude should go beyond the present:

“And what is divine law? In order to preserve one’s own, not to demand what belongs to others, but to use what is given, and when it is not given, not to desire it; and when they take something away, leave it immediately and immediately, and be grateful for the time that the man used, if you don’t cry for the nanny and mom. ”

Discourses II.16

What does it mean

The first quote is very simple: wise people find joy in what they have, instead of feeling upset about what they don’t have. This is not unlike last week’s choice: the more you want, the poorer you will end up feeling .

But Epictetus also believes that there is a simple set of rules that we must all follow in our universe. It basically breaks down to cherish what you have, not try to take things that don’t belong to you from others, not waste energy on what you don’t already have, and be ready and willing to let go of something when the time has come. According to Epictetus, you don’t have all of this at all. It’s more like you’re borrowing something from the Universe, so don’t be upset when the Universe wants these things back.

Also, you should be grateful that the Universe allowed you to borrow this thing in the first place, whatever it is. You are an adult who does not cry for your mother, so do not cry over the loss of things.

What to take from there

Express gratitude not only for what you have now, but also for what you once had in the past. Be grateful for the food you have prepared in front of you, but also for the food you have eaten before. Be grateful to the people in your life now, but also to the people in your past who helped you survive and shaped who you have become. If you can reflect and express gratitude for the past and present, it will be easier for you to find gratitude in the future . There is almost always a better side to everything, and as you practice gratitude, you can always see it.


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