How Gratitude Changes Our Lives
When I was young, the gratitude I was encouraged to have was mixed in with a general dollop of guilt: I should eat all the food on my plate as there are people starving in the world; I should be grateful for what I have as there are many that have less than me and â€œyou donâ€™t see them complainingâ€ etc. My gratitude was meant to arise from an overall sense of guilt: others had so little while I had so much therefore I should be grateful. There is of course some truth to this, but guilt is not the basis of gratitude and appreciation.
The problem is that, if I am only grateful when it appears that I am doing better than others or I have all the things that society tells me I should have , then what happens if I somehow lose these things? At that point am I justified in feeling hard done by and unthankful?Â This is the problem when gratitude is measured by external things. A gratitude thatâ€™s less transient is a gratitude for life itself. This is not gratitude measured by external things, but rather it is a feeling of deep appreciation and realised value regarding my life and the whole universe. Itâ€™s the ability to stay fully aware of the WOW factor that is all of life.
Gratitude and Ourselves
Gratitude gets us out of ourselves. When I think of the opposite of gratitude, I think of self pity. When we are full of self pity and feeling totally sorry for ourselves we are, more often than not, empty of any gratitude. Being immersed in ourselves and full of misery or pride cuts us off from really contributing to the world and making it an even more wonderful place. Feeling grateful brings us out of our heads and into our hearts. It make us want to engage and give, to help and heal.
When you stop, close your eyes, and really ponder on how wonderful life is, how wonderful you are, how amazing and brilliant the whole â€œhuman and planet in the middle of the universeâ€ thing really is; when you let the full greatness of life really hit you and hit you hard, it does make you want to get up and get involved. It makes you want to hug and hold people. It makes you want to make the most of this day. It brings to the fore that feeling that life and time is precious so why not use what we have to do good things for people. Gratitude and Choice