Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful and a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Gratitude helps you bring recognition to the value of every aspect of your life and the lives of others.
In my observations, it was apparent that while people issued thank you’s, there was a huge gap between the thank you and the gratitude.
…and realized that I was just as guilty of not overindulging in it as so many others.
To be honest, when I first began this journey into the dissection of gratitude, saying thank you and being grateful was one big melted crayon. I wasn’t aware that they were two separate entities that were co-dependent on one another.
In the supermarket, an elderly couple were waiting for the cashier to ring up their items. The wife left the line and returned with ice cream sandwiches. She said to her husband, “I know how much you like these so I grabbed you a box”. The husband, who had been looking at a magazine never glanced up but said, “Thanks”. The wife became visibly irritated and told her husband he was very ungrateful. He looked up and said, “What? I said thank you”.
At home that night, the supermarket couple came to mind. This time in a different way. While I could only see the side of her face, the elderly woman’s posture gave away her disappointment in her husband’s, seemingly, lack of appreciation for her thoughtfulness.
At the same time, her husband, whose face was in full view when he turned to look at her, had an expression of genuine shock and confusion because he overestimated the power in his thank you.
It was easy to put myself in both of their shoes. I understood what made her feel unappreciated and I also understood why he thought thank you was enough. There was a void of gratitude or, at the very least, their use of it was very weak.
Here’s another one:
When your mind is set on something the expectation is that you get what you see at face value. You tend to not plan for deviations. You know what you want and you expect to get it.
For almost 2 weeks, a friend’s car had been out-of-order. I offered to transport her to and from work until her vehicle was ready. One day, however, I was not going to be available and, 2 days prior, she was informed that she would need to find an alternate way to get to work.
She was bothered instead of being grateful that, for 9 work days out of 10, I made sure that she made it to and from a workplace that I was not employed (I work from home). She allowed one deviation to drop a nest of entitled hornets into her happiness bag.
The verdict was clear. When you are not well versed in gratitude, one stray hair can ruin your whole hairstyle.
Having an Attitude of Gratitude humbles the materialistic selfish desires of the human nature and teaches you to recognize the value of what is already in your possession.
You learn to appreciate more what you have and look forward to what can be yours and then you learn to appreciate that. You learn to celebrate what’s current and constant in your life and, through it all, your happiness increases.
I started thinking about the countless times I was less than appreciative. Those times when my thank you just didn’t match my gratitude and I was NOT impressed.
If you thought about yours, how many could you count? (Hint-Even one is too many).
In comes the gratitude challenge.
The act or expression of gratitude has taken a backseat to narcissism-but not always on purpose. Sometimes it gets rusty and dusty from under-utilization.
I created this challenge is to encourage you to:
- Look at yourself. Where you have been, where you want to go, and where you could possibly end up. Your vision can change with the blink of an eye.
- Look outside of yourself. Recognize that you’re not as self-sufficient as you think you are. From the insects to the sun and the gardeners to the teachers, there is someone doing something beneficial to you.
- Look to those around you. Be willing to be a source of direct and indirect motivation, positivity and generosity. In some way, someone at sometime was all those things to you.
I believe gratitude is something that should come full circle but it has to start somewhere. In order to make big, meaningful and permanent changes you have to:
- Make the decision to change
- Make the committment to change and
- Start small
- Share your gratitude and teach others to recognize and appreciate their own beautiful messes.
Once you start living intentionally in gratitude, the world will open up, take on a new look and have new meaning. Are you ready? (Click the image below).