Behind Episode 202: Living in Gratitude
According to Merrium Webster, Gratitude is defined the quality of being thankful or the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. And when you remember, Gratitude, which rhymes with “attitude,” comes from the Latin word gratus, which means “thankful, pleasing.” When you feel gratitude, you’re pleased by what someone did for you and also pleased by the results. Unlike indebtedness, you’re not anxious about having to pay it back.
The bible says “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” … “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Robert Emmons, psychology professor and gratitude researcher at the University of California, Davis, explains that there are two stages of practicing gratitude:
First comes the acknowledgment of goodness in one’s life. In a state of gratitude, we say yes to life. We affirm that all in all, life is good, and has elements that make worth living, and rich in texture. The acknowledgment that we have received something gratifies us, both by its presence and by the effort the giver put into choosing it.
Second, gratitude is recognizing that some of the sources of this goodness lie outside the self. One can be grateful to other people, to animals, and to the world, but not to oneself. At this stage, we recognize the goodness in our lives and who to thank for it, ie., who made sacrifices so that we could be happy?
The two stages of gratitude comprise the recognition of the goodness in our lives, and then how this goodness came to us externally lies. By this process, we recognize the luck of everything that makes our lives—and ourselves—better.
How can we find gratitude in a world that seeks to destroy it?
- Intentionally choose it. Gratitude will never be a result of your next purchase, success, or accomplishment. It is available in your heart right now. And you will never find gratitude in life until you intentionally decide to choose it.
- Count your blessings. A new day, a warm bed, a loving spouse, a child in your life, a unique personality, or a special talent… You have wonderful things in your life already. Gratitude quickly sets in when we begin to spend a quiet moment each day remembering them. This practice alone has the potential to change your heart and life immeasurably.
- Stop focusing on what you don’t have. Too many people never realize gratitude because they spend so much mental energy focused on what they don’t have. Throw away catalogs and advertisements that inevitably promise you more fulfillment and joy in life. Those things are not sold in stores—never have been, never will be.
- Embrace humility. Humility is an essential ingredient in gratitude. A humble heart finds satisfaction in the gifts it already possesses and demands less from others and life. Remember that no matter what your accomplishments, your life contains no more inherent value than the person sitting next to you… no matter where you may be sitting.
- Open your eyes to those with less. Almost half the world, over three billion people, live on less than $2.50 a day. 1.1 billion people have inadequate access to clean water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation. Let those facts sink in for just a moment—and slowly allow gratitude and a desire to become part of the solution to take their place.
- Find gratitude in difficulty. It is easy to be grateful when things are going well. It can be more difficult during the trials of life: death, disease, rejection, or failure. The truth is that no one is exempt from the trials of life, but good can always be found in even the worst of times. And embracing gratitude during those trials may be the one thing that gets you through them.