Why Bother Thinking About Gratitude?
Is gratitude an emotion, a skill, a virtue, an attitude or a disposition? We feel grateful when someone is kind toward us, but we won’t notice someone’s kindness unless we have the ability to pay attention to other people. Some may say they were born with a good nature and gratitude comes natural for them. Others may share how practicing gratitude has become a habit and now they have an attitude of gratitude. However it shows up in our lives, gratefulness makes us a better person.
The Domino Effect of Gratitude
Gratitude is immeasurable and at the same time renewable. Unlike a well that runs dry, our source for gratitude does not. Gratefulness begins by thinking about gratitude. What are we grateful for? Who are we thankful for? We can begin our mental list first thing in the morning and continue it throughout the day only to begin a new list the next day. Counting our blessings makes us aware of the blessings that we can count. They are innumerable since new blessings accompany each new day.
Gratitude is attractive. It nurtures and deepens old friendships and helps us start new ones. When I consider the choice to spend time with someone who counts their blessings as opposed to spending time with someone who counts their burdens, I will choose the one who counts their blessings. Those who are more mindful of their troubles than they are of the goodness in life are inconsolable souls. Worries, inconveniences, and burdens are just as numerous as the good gifts we are given each day. But ruminating on our troubles only brings out the worst in us—agitation, a sour countenance, and bitterness. Though gratefulness can be contagious, there are those who have built up their immunity to it.
It has been said that gratitude is a moral barometer. When we notice we’ve benefited from another’s moral actions, and validate their deed with a word of gratitude, that moral character is more likely to continue. A grateful person who reinforces honesty, decency and ethical practices in others will likely help morality to grow in their community and their workplace.
Finally, gratefulness reminds us to never take anything for granted. Although I have a job and my health today, I am not guaranteed my job or my health tomorrow. Being grateful for what I have today makes me appreciative and mindful for the goodness found in this particular day.
Why bother thinking about gratitude? It doesn’t matter if we think about gratitude as an emotion, a skill, a virtue, an attitude or a disposition as long as we think about it.