Surat Alnahl - Verses 10 to 12
There are countless examples of things that I get from my environment that I didn’t actually strive for. From the air I breathe, to the food/water on the table to hundreds and hundreds of other things that are required to both build life and to sustain it.
First and foremost is to realize that these are grants from God and that I should be grateful. The idea is that while I know that this ultimately comes from God, I should also be grateful to the people through which this blessing is provided (my dad, mom, friends, etc.).
Next, in order to be truly grateful, I must utilize these blessings to the max.. that’s the best way I know of to truly express that gratitude. If I gave a guy $50 and he went and turned it into $5,000 .. then sure, he’d be happy — but I would too; I’d feel like the money I gave him went a long way, and was properly utilized.
This becomes especially important when I realize that there are others that are deprived of these same things that I’ve been given so abundantly. Whether it’s the hungry, the orphans or the people at war — to be truly grateful is to recognize their plight and strive to help them, while also being cognizant of the fact that I have done very little to deserve all the blessings I’ve been given, that others have not.
Being truly thankful — not thankful by just saying it, but genuinely feeling like you have alot to be thankful about .. that is imperative. If I’m constantly comparing myself to people that have more than I do (and they, in turn will compare themselves to others that have even more), then that just tends to make a group of ungrateful and unhappy people.*
I’d much rather be happy.
Just to clarify, it is *good to compare yourself to people that are better than you in ways that are important to you. That can serve as a catalyst for you to get better.
TL;DR: Be grateful.
Disclaimer: This is a description of my understanding of the verses in the Quran, and not the real true meaning of the verse. My understanding changes over time -- I see many things differently than I did 3 years ago, and my understanding can (nay, it should) evolve with time. Think about how your understanding of the role of parents changes as you grow -- first as a kid, then a teenager and later as a parent yourself. Your understanding evolves with time. The true meaning of the verses however, does not. I make absolutely no claims that this is in any way a resemblance of the true meaning of the verses. Instead, this is really just meant to be a record for me -- a notebook of sorts, where I think over the meaning verses and try to glean valuable lessons with which I hope to apply to better myself.