I was a stubborn child.
Never cared about anything.
Just in her own World.
My journey is full of ups and downs
But life changed when I came across this app.
I find a new ray of light in my life.
That something is still there for me.
I start doing journaling.
It changed me as a person completely.
Now I am more grateful for the things that I have.
Perspective is changed towards life,
People and the Universe.
Thankful to the Universe.
This app is magical.
There is a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in.
Aarushi: Okay, Ananya. First, tell us about you. Where do you come from?
Ananya: I'm from Jammu & Kashmir, born and brought up. I just completed my master's in Zoology this year in June. I'm appearing for my exams for higher education. With respect to this gratitude thing, I just came around it four or three years ago because I was not aware of these kinds of things. I was very much into my own world, just eating and studying and sleeping.
Whenever we get experiences in life, we learn from them. I was connecting to spiritual awakening. I started taking sessions from Dr. Shephali who's in Chicago on how to inculcate these things into my life about limiting beliefs.
So anything that is a barrier, letting us down from the things that we learned and that we want to learn, but these are pushing us down, I learned to combat it with practices over Zoom calls.
I remember the doctor said to me, "I'm very curious to know about why a 22 y/o girl has come to me to learn spiritual awakening." She usually had students who were above 40 years of age and I was the youngest one.
Then I came across your app. That was also a life-changing moment in my life. I started writing for the daily prompt, and read the gratitude stories. I tried to inculcate those things into my life that there were some 10 quotes to empower yourself and practices are usually those days. So I try to inculcate those in my life. It took some time, two to three months to do it properly, but now it's a part of me.
Aarushi: So, why did you start doing this?
Ananya: Because I had no direction in my life. I had no clue about what to do. I was doing some things, but the things that create peace, that give satisfaction, were missing from my life. I think God gives direction to these things in my life and that's how I came across them, I think.
Aarushi: How did you realize that gratitude would help you achieve what you want?
Ananya: It goes 50-50. I don't think it will help me achieve 100% of my goals, but it gives me peace. The next things that I do, when I think about making an important decision in my life, I will be helped by gratitude as I'll feel that the past things are sorted. I am grateful for what happened.
I also feel that you should be grateful for what you have in life. Mostly people don't have so much in their life and you should be like, if you have something, give it to others. Whatever we have in life, money or anything, the idea is to give it to others. If we give to others, God will give us more.
Aarushi: How did you realize that this is really what gratitude is, you know? It's so deep and you have to be conscious about it. Did you have such an experience when you realized what gratitude is?
Ananya: There've been many experiences. Some I don't remember properly. But there are two experiences that have had a very long impact on my memory.
When I was in my seventh standard, we got to have a school trip to the countryside, but I didn't take part in it. Later, I got to know that there had been an accident between two vehicles and because of that, my school bus returned at midnight. Well, this is a small incident, not a big one, but I just felt that it's a good thing that I didn't go there. I felt safe in my house, not stuck on the road at midnight.
The second experience in recent. I got supplementary in my first year. For me, it goes in such a way that if I get a setback, I will be trying harder. And, I'm grateful for that setback, extremely grateful. If I didn't get that setback in the first year of my college, I wouldn't have been properly conscious about the studies that I put in.
This was the biggest lesson I have ever learned in my life because I was very careless then. I was doing well in 12th standard, so I thought it would go well in college too but it didn't. It was a realization. At that time, I didn't feel good about it but later on, I realized that it was a boon. I worked harder to get my achievements. I got a much higher percentage.
Aarushi: I had a similar experience and it took me a long time to feel positive about it. I think even right now, I would have some bad feelings because I didn't get the marks, you know, that I wanted. So when you got supplementary, did you immediately take this positive view or you were in this negative place for some time?
Ananya: Many people will laugh over this. I was in a negative zone for just two-three hours. When I came back to my home, I decided that next year, I will give and pass the exam. And, all of it turned out the way I had planned them in my head.
Aarushi: What do you think helped you to be this fast in changing a lane to a positive one?
Ananya: I think it was without the help of external forces. I was 18 at the time and the result had come out in 2017. I didn't tell my parents about it. So, it was inner strength. I thought I would do it on my own and things will be sorted out soon.
I feel that I have strength inside me. I don't know if many people feel it or not, but I generally feel I have strength inside and that keeps me going. Whenever something bad happens, I always think what be worse than this? This happened, what can be the most of this?
I have so much inner strength that I can go through everything. I think I'm self-sufficient to take things on. It's not that I don't have friends or anything, but I love my company. I love reading books, I spend all my money on them. I write also.
I made a page on Instagram and started writing what I wanted to convey. I realized that I have this kind of talent also. I think that this incident helped me. I saw my different side. Like, I'm a storyteller. I started dancing after many, many years. So I think this incident changed my life.
There's also another incident. I lost touch with many friends after moving from school to college. From this, I learned that people may come and go, you are there for yourself. And another thing I learned is that everyone comes with an expiry date si you should work and give your 100%, that's it. You should have to depend on anyone or give anyone an explanation. I just feel these things.
Aarushi: So I see that the relationship that you have with yourself is the most important one to you, would you say that?
Ananya: Yeah. This is the longest one we have in our lives.
Aarushi: Why do you believe that gratitude is important in life? Not just your life, but all of life.
Ananya: I think if we have gratitude in life, we will be kinder to the world. If we start spreading kindness from our little actions, it will go on a large scale. Someday it will reflect in our society. When we feel grateful, we feel kind to others and ourselves.
So, I feel that it spreads kindness. It gives satisfaction, inner peace to your soul. That's the more important thing, inner peace. You don't hold any grudges because, I don't remember who said this, but whatever happens, happens for a reason. I link this with gratitude. We might not know it in that situation but we later realize how and why it happened.
Aarushi: So, you say that gratitude gives foresight. Something that you would realize, later on, you now know already that this has some meaning behind it. Maybe I'll know it later on. I know that it exists and it's not for nothing. I would want you to talk a little bit more about how gratitude makes a person kind, how does it have this impact?
Ananya: I feel it comes when you start feeling gratitude for certain things in your life. You see the world in a different, I don't know if it happens with everyone, but with me, whenever I feel grateful about anything, I start seeing the situation from a very different perspective and my reactions and responses become different from my past responses. I think that this process is also gradual, not spontaneous. This process is very slow.
So I think this happens to me. I don't know about others, but this happens to me, my perspective towards a situation, about life, changes when I feel grateful because I will see everyone is equal. Everyone is equal. Everyone has their own processes that they are going through.
You usually see the external, but when feeling grateful even we are in that process, we will see the other side of the point. You will see the depth of things. Why they have done some things, we will see the perspective of that person.
Aarushi: So, wow. This sounds like you say that gratitude gives you an open mind and also generates empathy for others. As you feel grateful, you become more empathetic and empathy is one skill that everyone should have, I think. Okay. So since you said that it's been three to four years, you know, you've been practicing gratitude. What would you say to someone who's new to this?
Ananya: For the people who are new to this, I will say that it will take time, more than you think because it's not easy to be grateful for things. Everyone has different situations in their lives. So, there could be times when something happens and they wonder why they should be grateful for it.
But, in 100%, you should start feeling grateful with 5% or 10%, and then you will be great for other things. I know that every situation has a different view for everyone, but the largest impact is on the person who's going through it.
So, I think that people should take the charge of their problems, analyze them themselves. After that, they should talk to other people because if you have not sorted it out for yourself, what will you tell others?
I also believe in energy and things like that, vibes, wavelengths, they do match. We match wavelengths with some people in life. Some understand us instantly and some take so much time to understand what we want to say.
So the former type of people should be in your life. If not, you should be the one for yourself because we all are alone at some point in our lives. Not everyone can stay with us till the last destination. So, if you're not happy with yourself, how will you give happiness to others? If you are doing great, they will also see the changes.
I think gratitude has a direct impact on our personality, how we think and see situations.
Aarushi: Yeah, I think gratitude does change your perspective totally. You start looking at the world in a different light. So in the end, I would love to know from you how you would put this journey of three to four years from the starting point to this point, how have you evolved and how do you feel now?
Ananya: Four years back, I was a very, very different person. I never cared about anything. But after getting into this process, I started feeling things, I started getting what is right, what is wrong, what things I should be grateful for and what should I delete from my system.
I spent 5 years at my university. I tell everyone that I have completely evolved as a person. I didn't know that I had any talents till my 12th, and now I know that I write also.
I remember that day in school when an alumnus, who was studying to become a doctor, had been invited by the school to motivate the current students. That time, she had said, "Do whatever you want."
At that moment, I told my friend that I would become a writer. I don't know what it would mean at that point in time, but I told her this twice or thrice. I didn't know anything about it. I had never read a book or poem before. But, after 3-4 years, I started writing. I don't know how it came to me but I just started writing.
And I evolved. Now I say that I am more grateful, more empathetic towards people and towards myself. And I will play my part, if I have come to this world I will do my part to the fullest, so I don't have any complaints with myself that I didn't do it.
I know I will learn more things in the later stages of my life but at this point of my life, I'm very happy knowing this change has happened to me. So, this is it. This is all that I feel about myself and this journey. This journey is so beautiful.
Aarushi: I had a great time listening to you and how your life has been. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm sure that the people who will listen to it will also love how you spoke about your life and in such depth, really going into experiences that you had. And I did, I did learn a lot listening to you, so thank you for that.
If you'd like to share your story too, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll schedule a call.