As I write this article, I deeply reflect on my life and all that I am grateful for despite all the mess. I know today we are discussing “What is Gratitude,” and it is almost commonplace for me to say we should all be more grateful. And while I do believe gratefulness should be an intentional part of our daily lives, just writing those words “we should all be more grateful” seems like such an empty cliché. Although, in reality, it is not empty when we practice the art of being grateful.
As I mentioned before, sometimes I must remind myself to pay attention to moments in my day to practice being grateful. Because, at times, our lives can be in such a mess that we cannot see how much we really have. And we neglect to see that life itself is enough to be grateful for. So if you are looking at things this way, I understand. I have been there, and I am still there on some days.
To see the positive effects of being grateful amid my hardship on my thinking, feelings, and stress is lovely. There are good possibilities that are not yet there. I can then see that I will thrive instead of just surviving, which is enough to keep me moving forward. I will say that I do not Practice the Art of Gratitude despite whatever hardships I am working through, but I practice it because of those hardships. It is so easy to be grateful during the good times. But it is during our most challenging seasons that I believe we should look to Gratitude. When our seasons are at their darkest, a little light means the world to us.
So What is Gratitude?
I remember when I was a little girl how much my brother and I were reminded to say thank you when someone gifted us something or paid us a compliment. My dad was big on us having good manners. So saying thank you became a sort of automation for me. Even when people did things in an unkind or unwilling way or they were rude, I still said thank you. But with all those thank yous, I did not know what being genuinely grateful was. And when someone did something beautiful and unique for me, I would say thank you, but I never actually felt thankful during those moments.
I read a book when I was twenty-four years old, and the author spoke about Gratitude. It was then that I finally looked up what it meant to be grateful. And Gratitude is not an empty cliché; it is you and me making a conscious effort to acknowledge someone’s kind gesture towards us and recognizing when things are going well with our lives. The Dalai Lama said “Gratitude is something you show in relation to others.”
Gratitude is an invaluable tool we have readily available to us to improve our well-being. It is like a muscle that builds over time. When we begin a Gratitude practice and continue to implement it into our daily lives, it positively affects our mood and behaviors.
Do you practice the Art of Gratitude? What is the best part of your practice, and how has your life improved? Comment below and share with us.