Since childhood, in prayers, in school, in moral science lectures, we were taught that “gratitude is the best attitude”. And we like obedient students use to memorize this line and insert in the essays which we use to write in exams without comprehending the real essence behind such simple words. Often asked myself the real meaning of it, of course, the oxford dictionary and Wikipedia always came to the literal meaning rescue, but still never got the true essence of this phrase.
Talking About Gratitude in Literal Terms
“Gratitude, thankfulness, or great fullness from the Latin word gratus ‘pleasing, thankful’ is a feeling of appreciation felt by and/or similar positive response shown by the recipient of kindness, gifts, help, favors or other types of generosity towards the giver of such gifts”- Wikipedia.
Gratitude in Life- Are you Grateful for the Things you Have?
But as they say, life has its own way. I was able to comprehend the real meaning of this simple yet powerful phrase later in life when I went through a phase that taught me that complaining was way too easy a task about the things that we don’t possess, and it takes a sound mind and a heart full of gratitude to be thankful for what we have. I realized that when some things go wrong, take a moment to be thankful for the things that are still going right.
Life was behaving in a weird manner. Everyone thought that I had the best life. Great family, adorable kids, work was doing good too (of course, not to mention that I had lost a few good relations and the sales of my latest book had taken a slight dip from the previous one…but nothing catastrophic had happened in my life). Yet, I was always sulking, being dissatisfied had become my second nature, always irritable and thinking that God had done most injustice in my life. I had every reason to be non-grateful to the almighty. In all this, I stumbled upon the phrase in a book that I was going through in a bookstore “the struggle ends when the gratitude begins”. It just caught my attention. Something like being struck by lightning.
A simple phrase, which had been used by myself numerous times in my writings yet never practiced by me. I was always big on manners, big on politeness, but was I big on gratitude? Did I ever wonder how blessed I was in life instead of being a complaint register lately? Did I ever actually practice gratitude in my life? The answers to all these questions was a big NO.
I realized that life is not about having it all. We should be thankful for those days as well when we had empty pockets and days of wanting. Those are the days when one learns most about what life is. I was thankful that I had a roof over my head, thankful that I had food in the fridge, thankful that I had money in the banks, thankful that I had a lovely family, and most important that I had work which I simply adored doing. So, what was all that frustration and cribbing about? The answer was simple, I was not valuing what I had. I looked around myself, many people whom I knew could only dream of such existence, I had everything required for a happy life. The only thing was lacking was gratitude towards life, towards its existence, towards it being there for us. Thanking life is of vital importance to a healthy existence. The more you thank life; the more life gives you to be thankful for. As the famous saying goes “my socks may not match, but my feet are always warm.”
When you view your word with an attitude of gratitude, you are training yourself to focus on the good in life. And in the course of time, I realized that gratitude is not just limited to the almighty, we should be having gratitude towards our surrounding, our environment, the people whom we co-exist with. The best manner to develop the habit of gratitude is to write down daily the things that touched you most, the things that made you smile, the things that bought pleasure to your eyes and to your heart. I realized that gratitude practice became important to me. It became an incredible way to start my day. My “GRATITUDE JAR” started filling up and was my most treasured possession. It took a while to make this habit permanent but at the end of the day, the contented feeling was all that I desired. The habit of gratefulness made me very present. For me, joy became the simplest form of gratitude. So simple and yet so pure. Simple things like wishing my building security officer in the morning, which he had been doing for years and I had been silent to it for years, smelling the roses around the backyard and feeling the essence of mother nature, thanking people who were making a difference in my life by their efforts became a daily routine. After all these years I realized that the only payment for help is gratitude. And it was quite a surprise as to how my dissatisfaction towards life dipped to a historic low. For me, peace took over frustration, appreciation and contentment became stronger than dissatisfaction.
“Gratitude is not a limited resource, nor is it costly. It is abundant as air. We breathe it in but forget to exhale.” – Marshall Goldsmith. The problem with us humans is that either we are not thankful for the things we possess, or we do not have a habit of thanking others for our treasure. Those who have the ability to be grateful are the ones who have the ability to achieve greatness. Develop the habit of thanking. Life will be easier to live and beautiful to spend. Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone. It takes just a minute to express how you feel, but the aftereffects are long-lasting for a lifetime. After all, the deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated… isn’t it?
Gratitude, thanks to a lot of influencers has become trendy also, like it’s very much in fashion to pay gratitude these days. Jokes apart, it does good to a person to a great extent. One just has to feel it and most importantly express it. Expressing gratitude opens doors to more relationships, helps to improve the physical health, leads to the betterment of psychological health too. Not only the self-esteem of a person benefits, but it increases the mental strength also.
So, to lead a happy and perfect life, practice gratitude. Your “me” space will always remain contended.