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Should we Take Life for Granted?

Taking Life for Granted_ Good or Bad_

Should we Take Life for Granted?


Taking things for granted is a funny thing. 


At face value, it sounds like a negative thing. Something to be avoided at all costs. 


But two different instances in my life made this concept stick out in my mind, and I had to assess if this was negative or not. 


I took an exceptional parenting course last year, given by the world renowned parenting expert, Sima Spetner. 


I was recently listening to the recorded version. She emphasized doing something 1-2 times a month , special for each child (examples: making their favorite dinner) and specifically pointing it out to them that you did it JUST  for them. 


She explained that she wants us to not do this more than 1-2 times a month, because your children should take for granted that you do their laundry for them.

Of course we should teach them the concept of gratitude, but a child in a healthy home, isn’t thinking about thanking their mother for making them dinner. It’s obvious to them that their mother is meeting their basic needs. Although we teach them the language of gratitude, we can’t necessarily impart real gratitude to them until they can conceptualize this abstract concept. Hence, many of us call our mothers a few days into motherhood and pour our hearts out to them in gratitude over their goodness towards us that we took for granted. 


When a child is overly grateful for having his clothes washed, we might start to pick up on some form or neglect in that child’s life. A child shouldn’t have to carry the emotional needs of a parent. 


She also made a very good point. When people call us and profusely express to what length they went to to make sure we got exactly what we needed, it doesn’t always feel very good. In some ways, it feels that the giver is rubbing in what they did for you. Sometimes we may even feel “please don’t go the extra mile for me!” 


Today, I was listening to Danielle Renov’s podcast, peas in a podcast, on the topic of grief and loss.


Danielle, heartbreakingly, suffered an unspeakable loss 3 years ago, when her baby passed away. 


She reminisces about her first pregnancy and how she took for granted that the pregnancy would result in a healthy baby. At age 32, pregnant with her 6th, she felt more anxious about the health of her unborn child. She used the words “I took for granted that this pregnancy would end with a healthy baby.” 


I always say that when two people I like and trust mention the same book or podcast or any recommendation, I look into that piece or content. 


Today, I realized I do a very similar thing when it comes to certain wording. “Taking something for granted,” sounds so bad. It sounds like we don’t appreciate what we do have. 


I’ve recently been thinking about this more and more. The amount of “comparisonitis” we have, especially because of social media. 


I’m often shocked to hear my own mind think ” I know why she has more followers than me, she’s prettier than me.”

“I know why that person asked that other person to do a live with her, people like her better than me.”

Don’t get me wrong, this, of course happens in the real world too, but the constant dose of other people’s lives does me in. It does everyone in. 


I remember having a conversation with my therapist that my phone was giving me a report of how often I was on my phone. I felt guilt, shame, embarrassment, confusion, so many things about this report. I told her I just don’t want to be on my phone so much but I can’t help myself.

I want to check my whatsapp. I want to listen to podcasts and also my music. 


Need something- put it in my Amazon or Target cart. 


She comforted me, telling me, I am not the only one and most people these days struggle with the same things. 


This brings me to my point of this blog. 


Life has a natural ebb and flow to it. If we don’t “take our lives for granted, ” this is a clue into something deeper in our life. 


My mother died 2.5 years ago, very suddenly. I for sure, without a question of a doubt,  took for granted that I’d always have a mother. At least until I was older and of course to see my own children grow up, marry and have children too. 

My mother will not only not be at my children’s weddings, but she will miss a few of my own siblings weddings.


Over the course of my life, I had been faced with some level of death, but definitely at arms length and not the type of grief that’s a part of your body. 


When I was in 12th grade, a friend of mine from a few years prior, got sick and passed away. 


When I was in 9th grade, a terrible fire took place, and a family in my community suffered multiple losses. When I was a few years married, I heard about another friend overdosing and passing away. 


These were such sad events and stick out in my mind. 


But 7 years ago, my grandfather, a very important person in my life, got sick and died.  


My life felt shattered. Broken. Ruined. Over. 


I felt heartbroken. For me and my father, my aunt and uncle and mostly my grandmother who’d been married to my grandfather for 50 + years. 


But only a few months later. We got another earth shattering, gut wrenching call. My older brother, Yoni, called to say my niece, his daughter was struggling to breath. She didn’t make it. 


I watched as my brother buried his 3 month old daughter, and I thought for sure, my life was over. How can I live in a world with such pain, sorrow, and agony.

Watching him sit Shiva, the intensity of it all, I couldn’t believe that life could go on. 


I specifically remember my sister in law saying at the shiva “Yoni was never one of those people to take things for granted, he thanked Hashem everyday for this new baby. ” 


And 2.5 years ago, my young, vibrant, happy mother of 56 was diagnosed with stage for cancer, and died 2 months later. 


The first year after her death, every day was a challenge. After the first year, I can’t really say it got that much easier. 


My life waxes and Wanes. The pain waxes and wanes too. But there are days where I am able to take for granted my life.

Those are the normal days. 

Maybe I do need reminders not to take for granted what I do have, but is that a sign of normalcy?


Human nature is to get used to life and take things for granted. It helps us compartmentalize our lives. 


Human nature is comparing my life to your life, does that help us get better? Can that help us do better? 


We know that every middah, character trait, can have a positive and negative side, the goal of life is to aim for balance. Can this have a balance too?


Or, do we have the ability to try on different levels of taking for granted and comparing and see what works for us. 


I think over the course of the years, I have felt this prescribed way of being fall on my shoulders- not in a good way. Maybe, taking things for granted was the best thing that could have happened to me. It meant my life had a lot of normalcy.


I’m finding more and more at how similar we all are and yet how different we all are. 

My pro may be your con.

My normal day may be your most chaotic day.

My happy times may be your sad times.

You’re taken for granted may be my saving grace.

Your smile on Instagram may be all you have. 


Something to think about.


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Gila Glassberg, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, holding an inclusive variety of foods

Gila Glassberg is a Master's level registered dietitian and a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. As a teenager, she was faced with constant diet talk, body shaming and obsessive guilt around food. She struggled with disordered eating. This is what propelled her into the field of nutrition. She uses a non-diet, weight-neutral approach called Intuitive Eating. She helps growth oriented women break out of chronic dieting, and regain clarity into what is really important to them.

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