We, as human beings, at times, cannot control situations. Some of us are control freaks. Others are not.
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
This short ‘n’ sweet statement sums up the feelings and the attitude one should have towards life in general. Which is? Which is one of gratitude; hence to start with, what is gratitude? As per the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, gratitude is “the state of being grateful.” Then again, say Sansone & Sansone, 2010, it is “the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself and represents a general state of thankfulness and/or appreciation.”
Another way to define gratitude is that it is “a social emotion that signals our recognition of the things others have done for us.” Or else, it could be linked as “a positively valenced emotion that can arise when another person – a benefactor – does something kind for the self.”
Gratitude, speaking in a realistic narrative, is a two-step tone.
The first is the realisation of something or someone good in one’s life and times. The second is that this source of positivity lies not within your own self but somewhere outside of you. If one gets past both these stages of awakening, you can become truly grateful for the force of good. Then again, there comes the next paradox.
What, pray you, is the purpose of being grateful? Well, this can be put into good use. For one, a person can use gratitude as a means to connect with people or to enhance the quality of present relationships. One can even utilise this gambit to make amends with someone you have fought with – to apologize, in a sense. Or else, at number three, ranks the feeling of being grateful just because it is an inherently rewarding procedure, even by itself.
The best news for the day is that gratitude actually works for most human beings and uplifts them spiritually and emotionally as it is a selfless act. True gratitude, in any case, is.
Several studies have confirmed the fact that gratitude helps you feel better, act better, and even emote better. Writing gratitude letters, even if one does not mail them, go a long way in making you come out of the blues. Here is a thought.
As easier it is said, the reality can never be halfway ignored. Gratitude is easy, practising it is rarity.
You take all of it with a pinch of salt. Add lemon to it, it becomes a beverage to live with. We all want some kind of beverage, the only concern is mojitos always take a special stand in cafe as if they have a calling for the moment. All said and done, lemon-soda is no less.
Everything asks for attention, few things get recognition. Attention is desirable, recognition is achievable.
At the bottom of our hearts, minds, and souls, if a situation is taken out of our sphere of influence, we may actually like it. That we no longer have any control over it, that it is someone else’s baby now, and that we are not incharge of the end result, could help us regain our senses, and even, invigorate us. We may end up developing a feeling of being grateful for being out of the hot seat, for once.
Gratitude is liberating, for most of us. It helps us become a better person. It might also help us gain our fifteen seconds of fame in society. Two sides, one coin.
On a mature platform, humans want to be liked, desired, and loved. If you are grateful, there is a good chance that you will evoke a very positive response from the other side. It will help you in your odyssey of becoming more likeable, more desirable, and lovable; which is what all of us want, regardless of how harder we try to hide it.
We are selfish inside of us – we all want more acceptance, more affection, more praise. In giving some by being grateful, we, in effect, are carving a space for our own self as well.
Thus, gratitude, seriously speaking, is a utilitarian dynamic to have. It will help you gain your own moment with another person. It gives you a platform of connection, of a bond, of a link. And you, being you, can use this link to make your connection even stronger. You get another shot at being more pursued for. And so, your selfish motive of being selfless scores. It is a win-win moment. Here you are being grateful. And in return, this very act is making you get recognition and praise for recognising and praising. Hmm.
Imagine the possibilities. Imagine the happiness. Imagine the beginnings. Imagine the consolidation of learnings. Imagine the success out of it. Imagine the mojito is being challenged by a lemon soda. Imagine greatness. Imagine goodness. Imagine glory. And gratitude is, after all, a bonus.
Imagine the struggle that the gratitude has to go through every day, because it’s rare. It’s a rarity. It’s rarely noticed, rarely given, and rarely accepted.
In a sedate undertone, giving a compliment to another person will make him or her happy. Instantly, it will give them a moment of joy. And, as the scriptures tell us, spreading peace and happiness is enough to rub off some of it on your own self too. In this manner, your own objective of making your own self all chirpy and cheery, too, gets fulfilled. You don’t have to take such words with a negative connotation. This is not to say that one should practice gratitude just to brownie in your own position into one of more mirth. You do it when required.
In the same breath, such advice does not even mean that one should become a pushover. No one’s asking you to place yourself as a doormat forever seeing the good in people, even if they do not deserve it. Sometimes, you need to give yourself due credit too as a person who is gracious. Saying “thank you” with a genuine smile on the face is not something each one is cut out for.
There are scores of people who would disregard goodness or blessings with a mere nod of the head, or even less. Well, give yourself a vote of thanks if you can thank. The world is full of misers of emotion and of feelings. They will not let another human feel good about himself or herself just for the sheer pleasure they get out of making a person squirm.
Thank the good lord, you are not one in this ilk, this breed. You are a cut above them just for the reason that you can be grateful. This is the one perspective that goes a long way at all times while practising the traits of gratitude.
Here we have another interesting dimension to add to the discussions on gratitude. When it comes to religious movements, we find that all religions, unilaterally, talk of being grateful to a superpower, to a higher order, to a more refined, less defined, aura of goodness. However, in real-time situations, one can use gratitude as oxygen for another person’s happiness. We can have gratitude for normal human beings, too. Just giving a warm hug as a token of affection is enough to move forward in your quest for being grateful.
But, you do not have to get carried away, you do not have to get swayed; balance is essential.
To get a feel-good vibe in your life, as we have ascertained, begin with being grateful. This is how we could start our day. Such mantras may move mountains in making us more kick-started, feel light, bright, and more energised. Our batteries require such a current to propel them into an active mode. And, the one note of caution to be exercised at all times is that it should not be a forced feeling.
This is the beginning of getting entrapped into a circle of viciousness. Feel grateful if you can. You don’t make yourself feel so deliberately. Or else, you are defeating the very purpose behind the entire effort.
The art of being grateful is not a difficult one to cultivate. However, should not be a chore you do. It should flow effortlessly from the deep inners, inside of you. Then, and only then, are you actually grateful. If it does make you yourself feel as good as it will make those you are being grateful towards.
Rarity is what needs to be underlined here. That, it is not everyone’s cup of tea to have gratitude in their list of virtues; if you take care to make it so, you better know what you are; say, a person who is at least a tad bit better than hundreds around themself. Which is what makes it all the more worth it to get into the groove of being gracious.
You can start this quest by thanking your house help in the morning for the cup of tea she serves you; end it with the short prayer of thanks to all the ones which helped you during the day, be witness to how life happens to you thereafter. Don’t believe me? Try it for just one week – you will not regret it.
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A writer by profession and more by choice. I feel strongly for all tasks in which either parent can work or stay at home basis of their kids to have their share of parental care. I am also a spoken English trainer for it is English language that makes my world tick.