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Deep Diving Into the Mind: How Gratitude Helped Me Find Beauty

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

What ensues when life is no longer “perfect”? The truth about humanity is that no single being can be defined as simply perfect. This is a realization that I have come to terms with after intentionally practicing the art of identifying imperfection, and celebrating it when it seems absurd. It is too easy to catch myself in times when I feel like I am not enough, or when life starts to feel like the marathon I am constantly told it could be. A fizzled friendship, a dampened connection, maybe even poor health or burdening regrets. These are all things that seemingly stack into my mind, diffusing the joy that something just “could have been”. However, that draining search for what “could be” is exactly what I could not see. 

Starting From Scratch

My path towards gratitude started with an entire dose of skepticism. I like to think that I am logical, that I reason through things, while having an intuition that certain things just are not for me. Hence, starting to identify the issue with my apprehension was the biggest learning curve I faced. I had to sit down,be honest with myself, and truly understand that something different does not necessarily equate to an experience being invalid. I feel as though sometimes this is a common thought-process. A lot of my interactions with others have continuously exemplified that leaving the warmer confines of comfort and knowing, takes a different kind of courage from the individual trying. With patience, I forced myself to finally start, right during my freshman year of college. My first mode of appreciation awareness was a bullet journal, in which I wrote every single morning; 10 things that I was grateful for. When I wrote these, my mind was not always present, and so I gave myself the aim to start with a broader scope; perhaps I appreciated the new sweater my sister bought me, or the grade I got on that one chemistry exam last week. However, this quickly started to feel very trivial, almost like a receipt for my materialistic earnings or possessions. I lacked the total feeling of satisfaction that others used to talk about when they documented their own journeys towards identifying gratitude. I came to the understanding that I needed to scale down and become a little bit more aware of what surrounds me. I am so thankful for this understanding, because it took me a while to grasp the idea that gratitude is more than a list of what I appreciate. It is a collection of the tiny details that make me who I am, that give bigger ideas their charm or character. Most importantly, it is a magnifying glass that gives me a wholehearted perspective; things are never as shallow as they seem. So I literally needed to zoom in. 

Delivery of Thought 

With this new comprehension, I continue to implement my focused understanding of feeling gratified into my current practice. I still do write my 10 things I am grateful for every morning, but with clarity. For example, I appreciate the fact that I slept really well last night, am in good health, and have genuine friendships that revitalize me. There are times when I feel overwhelmed by something, and use this practice to reprogram my mind into seeing a positive corner of the very thing that is draining my energy. It could be a test that I studied so hard for, although not reflected in my final score, taught me more about how my own mind works with difficult subjects. Now I carry that new knowledge with me, moving forwards towards the next opportunity. In this sense, my practice of gratitude has become a reflection of my observations as well. With the risk of sounding sentimental, I truly do appreciate good weather, and the stars on a clear night sky, even the feeling of silence during the early hours of a muted sunrise. These all would have been easily overlooked as natural occurrences in my past. Simply things that just always happen, when in reality they are so much more to me, and impact the way I carry myself through a day, or a week. 


However, gratitude is not a “one-size-fits-all” type of remedy for all individuals who may resonate with the feelings I have felt and sometimes do continue to feel. The driving force behind an effective practice was finding something that worked for me. I can dedicate five minutes to writing in a journal every morning, or I can simply remind myself to be present and appreciate the details around me when driving to work or school. As is true with most other practices, coming to this place took trial and error. Another aspect of this whole application that framed it more comprehensively for me was to channel some of the same observational gratitude back to myself, in order to utilize that positive energy for my own uplifting. This could be by being proud of my perseverance despite a poor outcome, or celebrating the fact that I even tried something new at all when I had numerous other options to stay within my own comfort zone. This smaller exercise allows me to freely celebrate my own successes, on a level that feels more authentic to me, and one that is mine alone. 

This perspective of finding gratitude, no matter how minute, is labeled by understanding, compassion, and handfuls of patience, forever changing the way I see all that lies around me. I am more mindful, able to notice and appreciate more than just physical things around me, and at the very least, I finally know what Drake meant when he sang, “I’m way up, I feel blessed”. 


Tanvi Joshi is a student writer at the Her Campus chapter at Michigan State University. Her primary work is focused on wellness and health, with the scope of directing her knowledge towards bringing awareness of mental well-being. Apart from Her Campus, Tanvi is currently a junior who is double majoring in Human Biology and Psychology, and minoring in Women's Studies with the aim of of entering medicine in her near future. In her free time, Tanvi enjoys writing poetry, reading, dancing, watching strange Hindi movies, hitting the gym, and spending time with her loved ones.