Gratitude or Thankfulness, according to the dictionary, Gratitude is ‘the feeling of appreciation’, it is derived from the Latin word ‘Gratus’ while thankful has its roots in the Latin word ‘Grat’.
That might be what these words are defined as, but I believe that gratitude is an immensely powerful force that helps us build stronger relations resulting in a greater connection with oneself and society at large.
I grew up seeing my mother thanking almost everyone who assisted us – the cab driver, the maid, the delivery boy, the vendors… everybody and yes, with a smile; and would insist I do the same. For long I could never understand why we have to thank someone whom we are paying to do the job, but I am a changed person now.
It all changed the day my grandfather gifted me a diary. I was elated as I love to write, but my happiness was short-lived when I read his note: ‘Log in your gratitude every day’. I was puzzled and the immediate thought was how can every day be a good day. I cannot win or get a good score every day! I immediately called him and posed my concern. I will never forget what he shared with me and am grateful for the talk we had on that day for my entire life.
He explained that being grateful shifts our focus from being half empty to half full – a lifestyle which imbibed ensures a healthy mind, body and soul to make us resilient and strong. He counted a few blessings – a body with no defect, relishing the food, a car to own, grandchildren, safe journey to work and back, a good night’s sleep… are just a few things that he was thankful to God on any given day and he stressed that he never forgets to thank God for the same every day. Then began my sojourn with gratitude.
Since my innate tendency was to see the glass ‘half-empty’, it took a lot of conscious effort to inculcate the attitude of gratitude. I needed little reminders periodically to get myself attuned to being grateful, but gradually gained a new sense of appreciation through honing the existing skills while adapting to the new ones. I realized that gratitude is just like a muscle – exercise it and it becomes strong, thus, easy to put to action. I realized that my focus automatically shifted to being optimistic and could feel determined with boosted energy levels.
Being grateful is contagious – it tends to percolate in every sphere of life and has a powerful impact on others as well. I have learnt to ‘ask, believe and receive’. I am no longer jealous of what others have or envy others achievements. Rather I appreciate everyone’s contribution and acknowledge it while simultaneously striving for what I intend to achieve in life. ‘Each one has their own rainbow.
It is rightly said that life is ten per cent of what happens to you and ninety per cent to how you react to it! Gratitude is magic, and everyone must start practising it right now to ensure the world is a better place to live in.
“There is a law of gratitude, and it is the natural principle that actions and reactions are always equal and in opposite directions. The grateful outreaching of your mind in thankful praise to supreme intelligence is a liberation or expenditure of force. It cannot fail to reach that to which it is addressed, and the reaction is an instantaneous movement toward you” – Wally Wattles. I am thankful to my grandfather who gave me a wall piece with the following inscription:
Be thankful when you don’t know something,
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times,
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
Because they gave you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes,
They will teach you a valuable lesson.
Be thankful when you’ve made a difference,
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for good things.
A life of rich fulfilment comes to those who are also thankful for your blessings. Every thought, every gesture is prayer in disguise. The soul is always bowing in gratitude. Be thankful, show gratitude as it can turn a negative to a positive. There is surely a way to be thankful for all the blessings.