See the big picture, count your blessings, in any context.
A friend’s timeline on Facebook reads: “Telling a depressed person to have gratitude is like telling a person with cancer that ‘see, you have a car, no’?” The import of the post was that you can’t talk about abundance and gratitude to someone who is depressed. Even if my friend meant this only in jest, I believe this post was avoidable.
The comparisons are irrelevant and flippant. A person who has a cancer does not need – or care about having – a car. She or he needs chemotherapy or a similar medical process to help deal with or cure the disease. And someone who is depressed does need to be awakened and inspired to be grateful and see the abundance in their Life. Here, gratitude and abundance are not just philosophies, they are coping devices that help you deal with, and over time, climb out of depression.
Interestingly, even as I was mulling over my friend’s post, on our morning walk, I noticed a lady push her bicycle with two pots of drinking water on the street. She must have been fetching the water from some distance and must have been on her way home. Because she could not balance herself riding the bicycle, with the water pots filled to the brim, she must have been pushing it. An hour later, as I filled water in my bath, I decided to restrict myself to just one bucketful. I sent out a silent prayer in gratitude to the Universe for having flowing water in my bath when the whole city and state is beginning to reel under the impact of a grave water shortage. To me, this ability to see the big picture, to count your blessings, in any context, is gratitude! Gratitude is always about displaying an abundance mentality.
But those who are depressed don’t see Life this way. They see it as a dark, black hole, and see themselves gripped by hopelessness, cluelessness. The last thing on their mind is gratitude and the need to celebrate the abundance, the blessings, in their Life! Our task then is to work with them, by holding their hand, walking alongside, being there for them, having conversations with them to make them see their Life differently. This process often takes time. Sometimes, even years. This doesn’t mean we write off gratitude-speak as a coping device or therapy for the depressed. In fact, if there is one process that can help someone who is depressed it is making them realize the value of being grateful and celebrating abundance! That’s why I found my friend’s post particularly jarring.
In Life’s journey, each of us have to go through what we have to go through. No amount of intellectualization of Life can help you deal with it. Acceptance of what is, gratitude for what you have and celebrating the abundance around you, that’s really how you get through Life. Interestingly, today is Vishu – a festival that reminds us of this beautiful opportunity that each of us has – to be grateful and celebrate abundance!