Hi, Lyle — I think the most important thing is to accept that no one can ever fully understand what it means to be you; to experience your thoughts and feelings, ups and downs, joys and sorrows. What this means is that everyone’s versions of “gratitude” will never map out perfectly on your own life.
From that starting point, all advice, all opinions, all articles on gratitude can only ever act as ideas that serve as sparks for your own decisions in life (decisions/actions that are unique to you, who you are, how you think and feel and experience the world).
Perhaps for you, it’s not about transforming your life (it’s not about transforming my life either, I have too many days of darkness to say I have a transformed life due to gratitude). Maybe it’s just about transforming a few seconds. I tried something weird the other day. I was sitting in a coffee shop reading a book that was talking about mental battles etc. and the author suggested finding someone across the room from you, closing your eyes and picturing them, and then wishing that they have a happy day for a solid 10-seconds. No one will even know you’re doing anything. You’ll just sit quietly for a few moments and wish good things on someone you don’t even know.
Sometimes (for me, in my own crazy existence), gratitude is not about you as much as it is about everything around you. I have come to believe that all of us human ants running about our busy important lives are more truly alike than anyone ever wants to admit. Everyone laughs the same, cries the same tears, feels pain the same way, and desires joy and happiness like you and I. If you can look around the busy ant colony of a society in which we live, and see people who struggle like you do, love like you do, cry like you do, suddenly you can be grateful for the mother smiling at her baby walking down the street, the elderly couple sipping their coffee at a pace far slower than the world moving around them, and the college student hunched over a GRE prep book.
Start with a few seconds and maybe start by seeing the world around you. It’s full of hurt and pain and love and joy just like you and I are.
I can’t tell you what will happen. But I do believe it’s a good place for anything in life to start.