Why Be Grateful?

"Gratitude is the open door to abundance."

I've said it many times before, and I will say it again... gratitude is very important for a happy life. Isn't it the best feeling when others are appreciative of what you do, and they don't hold back from giving commendation? Feeling useful and needed, is what makes us thrive and impels us to be a better wife, child, brother, sister, mother, co-worker, employee, friend, and brings us happiness. Words of commendation or gratitude, when deserved, are truly heartwarming. The effect of ingratitude, on the other hand, can be as chilling as Shakespeare observed: "Blow, blow, thou winter wind, thou art not so unkind as man's ingratitude." Sadly, many have been the recipients of such unkindness.

In today's world sincere expressions of gratitude are disappearing. For instance, have you been in this situation: perhaps you attended a wedding where a bride found the time to address 200 wedding invitations, and yet, somehow never found the time to write simple thank-you notes for those who attended with gifts? Often the simple word "thanks" goes unsaid. Gratitude is increasingly being replaced by a me-first attitude along with a self-entitlement.

In other cases, gratitude is replaced by flattery. Expressions of gratitude are made from the heart without thought of personal gain. However, flattery, usually insincere and exaggerated, may stem from the ulterior motive of getting ahead or gaining certain personal advantages. Besides beguiling the recipient, such smooth talk tends to be the tell tale sign of pride and haughtiness. Who, then, would want to be victimized by insincere flattery? But genuine gratitude is truly refreshing. How then, can we guard against ingratitude? Here are 4 ways to be grateful:

1. SHOW YOURSELF THANKFUL - that means cultivating a spirit of gratitude, or thankfulness, and that begins by being grateful... manifesting a thankful attitude in everyday matters of life.

2. PONDER APPRECIATIVELY ON THE KINDNESSES WE RECEIVE - Webster's Third New International Dictionary defines gratitude as "the state of being grateful: a warm and friendly feeling toward a benefactor prompting one to repay a favor." A feeling cannot be turned on and off mechanically; it must spring from within a person. Gratitude is more than a mere display of good manners or a form of etiquette; it stems from the heart. Thus, to be grateful at heart... starts with pondering appreciatively on the kindness we receive from others. A psychologist by the name of Dr. Wayne W. Dyer once said: "You cannot have a feeling {emotion} without first having experienced a thought."

3. EXPRESS GRATITUDE - What a simple word "thanks" is! It is so easy to utter such an expression. Opportunities to do so abound each day we wake up. Think: how refreshing is a warm and sincere Thank You to someone who holds a door open for us or picks up something that we have dropped or sends us flowers! Hearing that expression can make the job of a waitress at a restaurant, a store clerk or the mailman lighter and more rewarding.

4. PRACTICE GRATEFULNESS - Sending thank-you cards is such an easy way to practice/put us in the habit of being grateful. We can express gratitude for acts of kindness by writing down loving words of appreciation in our own handwriting sending a personal note. Good habits start at home. Those most deserving of our gratitude are the ones closest to us at home. Are not heartfelt expressions of thanks to either our loved ones conducive to a home environment of peace and contentment?

The person expressing gratitude, and/or thankfulness benefits from doing so. The warmth he experiences because of being thankful at heart contributes to his happiness and peace of mind. And being a positive quality, gratitude protects him from such negative feelings as anger, jealousy, and resentment. As difficult as it can be at times to cultivate a spirit of gratitude in this unthankful world - it is well worth the effort.

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Share Your Thoughts

  1. Ugh this is my biggest pet peeve!! As a young child, I learned manners mainly from my Dad and my Grandmother. I have come out of anesthesia & been totally unaware & been told I thanked the whole surgical room lol. When my Grandma had a stroke and was not really conscious, someone sneezed & she said "bless you." If you learn at a young age, it becomes a big part of you. But no matter what our past behaviors, we can all take your advice & try to show gratitude.