Psychology Of Gratitude In Journey Of Faith: Newton’s Inertia


Its natural and human to feel numb when the much awaited breakthrough happens, after what seemed like a never ending period of slump- full of doubts, confusion, fear and despairing depression. You think that okay when this thing happens I will be so motivated and I will kick the blanket the next day and get to being postitive, working hard for my pursuit, etc. Sometimes it happens, you become so elated you jump out of seat with glee, but other times, you just feel numb. And numb not out of shock, but you just dont feel anything. Of course you feel the relief, it trickles down those same veins through which the beads of perspiration of the fear of the numerous “what if’s” ran down just a moment ago. But thats about it. You dont feel the instant dancing with joy feeling. It has happened to me and to many around me. I would like to think its natural.

Newton has a law of inertia. In easy English, it says that an object will continue to stay the way it is long after an external force is applied to change its course. So if you twirl around for 15 circles, and suddenly stop, you feel everything around you still spinning, albeit you stopped moving a minute ago. You feel like that because your body needs time to adjust from the sudden cease in twirls.

Similarly the human psychology, after being exposed to prolonged abyss of despair, doubts, negative self talks, all the  worst possible outcomes that we talk ourselves INTO, just to prepare ourselves “in case”- puts our mind at an inertia. From experience, inertia of negativity is unfathomably more rigid that that of positivity. Needless to say, it takes our mind a bit of time to fully get used to the goodness. As I always say, everything is a muscle. Gratitude- acknowledging, accepting, embracing and letting it to be part of your life, being able to rise above the fear- takes time to build. One incident might be powerful enough to leapfrog through the process; or sometimes it goes the traditional way of taking time to fuse into this new change. Even then, there will be gravity- pulling you down to the slump of despair by creating doubts inside you, which are nothing but white noise. So just like a missile you have to work against the force and keep the chin up, till your muscles are strong enough so you can sit back and turn the autopilot on.


Either way, the reaction is okay. As long as you are not declining what has been given to you, as long as you are taking small, subtle steps to increase those muscles- you are a work on progress. You are not stuck in slump anymore. Thats the beginning.

The Struggle For Gratitude


Being grateful does NOT mean being content. If we were to remain content with everything there would be no point of making dua and asking for things. Allah wouldnt have commanded us to make dua during times of ease if we were to remain content with what we have. Being grateful just means to acknowledge what Allah has already given us, reflect on them and praise and thank Him for them. It does not mean we settle. In fact Allah commands us to pursue a life of excellence and ask for His bounty. Allah says in the Quran in Surah Rum that seeking His bounty is actually one of His signs. So yes, sometimes you will feel grateful but also simultaneously you will feel what you have is not enough, it just doesnt cut it. Thats okay, Allah said to be grateful for things He has already given you, and thats it. Human beings taught you to settle, not Allah. So dont confuse it.

Also, if dont guilt trip yourself to feel grateful. Its good to look at people who are less privileged than you and reflect on your blessings, but its a whole different story altogether to just not ask for anymore because “you already have so much” or do just feel guilty that you are so blessed. 

One last thing, dont fight yourself to feel the gratitude rush all the time. When Prophet Yaqoob lost his youngest son, Allah didnt tell him to be grateful for the other ten. Allah allowed him to whine and complain like nobody’s business, and even recorded it for you and I to take inspiration from. 

Complains Do Not Negate Gratitude: Counsel From The Quran

Complains and gratitude are not mutually exclusive. You can grieve and complain to Allah, and yet remain grateful. When Prophet Yaqoob lost his 10year old son Yusuf, he was devastated and he cried so much he lost his eye sight. Yet when Allah narrates us the story,  NO WHERE does He mention anything about gratitude. Allah never tells him to be grateful that his other sons are alive. None. In fact, Allah captures his struggle by actually telling us that his grief did in fact affect his health, people around him were uncomfortable with his sorrow so they told him to move on- all things that every single one of us unfortunately have heard or told others. 

In this very famous verse Allah actually glorifies the fact that this prophet did complain. He kept telling Allah about his sorrow UNAPOLOGETICALLY. Unlike us humans, Allah did not guilt trip him into being grateful to supress his emotions. In His immense wisdom Allah never tells us to suppress our emotions because He knows it is not healthy.

What is also remarkable is that Allah revealed this story when His messenger (peace be upon him) needed counsel, when he was goung through the most difficult phase of his life. So basically even to his messenger (peace be upon him) Allah did not condemn his grief or ask him to stop complaining and be grateful. Allah gave both these prophets the time and space to grieve, to mourn. Allah acknowledged their sorrow and if any He actually tells us that through their legacies that we can turn to Him too to complain. Complain with unwavering certainty that Allah will change our condition for the better.


Even in this very famous verse of gratitude if you look at the background, Allah revealed it to the Children of Israel after Pharaoh killed their baby boys. Allah through His messenger Moses consoled them and encouraged them to be grateful. But Allah did NOT negate their grief or ask them to stop complaining. That is not a practice of Allah. He gives us the leeway to be grateful and still lament.

Basically what I am trying to convey is that we shouldn’t be ungrateful. We shouldn’t try to negate the value of what we have. But that does not mean that we settle with our miseries. It does not mean we pretend life is a bed of roses when in reality it might be not. There is a reason Allah says in the Quran “and do not forget your share of the world” (28:77)

So relieve yourself of that burden today. That burden where you are “supposed” to be only grateful and not complain. You can do both. You can complain to Allah, complain like nobody’s business, pour out to Him every bitterness that is there. As long as you are not being ungrateful, as long as you are not dismissing the favors He has done to you, you are good. “Remember Me, I will remember you. Be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.”(2:152). 

If you are still unsure, try it today. I do this experiment with myself. I was at a very bad situation and I complained to Allah a lot, but the whole time I kept an eye on my attitude. I figured that I did not feel “ingratitude”, I did feel grateful for what I have, but the pain of what I dont have, that sense of inadequacy created from that void was unbearable. 

Pain is given to us for a reason, to feel it. Feeling the sense of incompleteness for the things we do not have in life, for our unfulfilled dreams, wishes and desires, its part of our human creation. It is how Allah created us. We cant cloak them up with veils of gratitude and run away from acknowledging those emotions. Gratitude has its own place and so does our want and need for a better life.