Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Why Do We Take So Much For Granted?

“When something does not insist on being noticed, when we aren't grabbed by the collar or struck on the skull by a presence or an event, we take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude” ~ Cynthia Ozick

As someone who has taken others for granted as well as felt taken for granted, this particular topic hits home for me in a lot of ways and has been on my mind of late.

Let me circle out for a minute because I think it's partially a result of some of the meditating techniques I've been learning about and experiencing during my training. One of them, Yoga Nidra, has to do with getting deep into the subconscious, the part of us not run by the ego, and is meant to basically help the body heal itself, physically, emotionally, etc. It's a way of tapping into that pure energy, that intelligence that's already there, in our beings, that is not muddied by the mind.

The last few times we did it in class, I felt ... well, I felt some unexpected things. Emotions, pretty much across the spectrum. But in the past, that would have overwhelmed me. This time, it just felt like ... kind of like a release valve was opened inside me. It felt like my subconscious was working out things I didn't realize were still going on and this kind of meditation was unsheathing some emotional baggage I hadn't felt in some time, perhaps repressed for awhile now.

It also made me realize the things I still hold inside, locked away tight. And it got me thinking about some of the negative feelings I used to carry around all the time, every day ... the negatives ways I used to talk to myself, still do sometimes even now, though less and less every single day.

I remember, not that long ago, maybe as recent as a year ago or two, lying in bed after something happened that upset me, whether a fight with someone or just a rough day, and having trouble even listing 5 positive things out loud about myself that I truly believed.

I would look in the mirror, especially a few years back when I was all kinds of unhealthy, and think, "Wow, I thought I was worth so much more than all this. I'm being taken for granted, taken advantage of. I now know what this feels like."

But I'd always take it a step further and spiral into "I don't deserve anything good, I don't deserve to be happy or loved in a healthy way or treated like a main priority," etc. Well, that voice is pretty much obsolete these days. And I can list a lot more that 5 positive things about myself :-) ... but the part about being taken for granted ... that has kind of stayed with me.

Why do we do this so often? We don't really think about it, but we do it almost every day. How often do you take the time in the morning to feel a moment of gratefulness for being alive another morning, or seeing your cat or dog's beautiful eyes another day, perhaps your significant other ... how often do we routinely get up, go about our lives and rarely ever "take in" the things in our lives that could disappear with a blink of an eye.

For me, I used to take my ex (high school and college years) for granted many times without realizing it. And then, in the more recent years, I experienced the other side of that. Same with other friendships and relationships in my life. Even my family, parents, brother, etc.

All of the recent teachings and practices I'm experiencing talk about present moment awareness and compassion and gratefulness. I've been thinking about some of the ways I'd taken others for granted in the past, the ways I'd talk to someone and expect them to just deal with it or the times when I was talked to abusively and the other person just figured I'd take it and still be there the next day.

How often do we snap at people we care about? Or ignore people on a daily basis we actually truly care about when we stop and "take them in." There is a quote somewhere about how the things we point out in others are things we only strengthen in ourselves. So I've been definitely paying attention to the things I begin to point out in others lately and instead, stop myself and focus on how and when I do those very same things myself.

Taking things or people for granted is just one example I decided to point out. But there are so many others.

The truth of it is, nothing is permanent. And, if we get outside our heads enough, we will more easily appreciate and cherish those in our lives, including ourselves.

You don't have to be on the other side of the fence to know what something feels like. All you have to do is reach your mind out and imagine being on the receiving end of the energy, emotion or action you are expressing in that moment and you'll know everything you need to know.

We have all heard people say, "You never know what you have until it's gone."

Well, let's change that.

Let's know what we have while its still here ...



  1. Wow I think this is one of those things that everyone in the world is guilty of. I know I sure am!! I always find myself taking moments and things for granted without even realizing it. I think that I will now be more cognizant thanks to your blog post :)

    1. :-) Yeah, I'm pretty sure we are all guilty of it, but I think the more and more we make a point of "paying attention," the more that pattern will develop and trump our current ones ... at least in theory ;-)