“Should” We Be Grateful?

There’s a powerful weapon available to fight all kinds of human problems.

Materialism, greed, depression, anxiety, discontentment, and so on–all can be made better somehow when you put this weapon into action.

And what is this mighty tool, this problem-solving instrument?

Gratitude.

It does so much.

I’ve already written a post on how gratitude can help with anxiety, and I’ll be writing one about depression in the future. However, right now I wanted to say a few words about being grateful in general.

We often hear that we should be grateful, especially when we are children. And one of the most outstanding characteristics of such incidents is that the need for gratitude is told us as though it were a painful duty, one of those dry things which we “really ought to be doing.”

Jimmy wants a toy, and his mother scolds him that he should be grateful for what he has. Mary complains about her dinner, and her father reprimands her by saying that she should be grateful to have any dinner at all.

Why is gratitude always a “should”? What is more, why is gratitude always connected with something negative?

It seems odd, when in fact gratitude is one of the most positive qualities a person can have.

Just look at what gratitude can do: it can teach you to find joy in the littlest aspects of life, it can give you contentment and peace, it can cure a number of issues, it can make your life fuller and richer, and the list goes on and on.

Gratitude is not a mere duty which should be supplanting negative attributes. It is not a sort of absence of greed or discontentment or whatever. It is something exquisitely beautiful that fills up our lives and our beings.

If you want to be a positive thinker, be grateful. Gratitude doesn’t complain. It doesn’t find fault. It doesn’t engage in self-pity. It doesn’t predict gloom.

Gratitude enjoys. Gratitude loves. Gratitude rejoices. Gratitude finds the good in everything. And above all, gratitude shares.

That’s right. When you are grateful, your life does not begin and end with you. You appreciate all that is good, even the hidden things, and that appreciation spills over to other people.

George is filled with gratitude for his life, for his job, for his family, for every little thing that he can think of and that he experiences, and that gratitude turns into happiness and joy.

When you are truly happy, you don’t want to hoard that happiness, so to speak; you want to spread it around. You want other people to be a part of it. And so you share it. You are kind to others. You are friendly. You are patient. You are generous.

And all because you are grateful.

I want to be grateful. I want all the happiness and peace that gratitude brings. How much we are missing out on when we aren’t grateful!

So let’s begin to try to understand real gratitude and to instill it in our hearts. I need this lesson as much as anyone on earth. But I find that it really helps to know that gratitude is an attractive quality rather than an unpleasant, burdensome one.

Gratitude promises a better, more joyful life. Let’s head toward that today.

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