I thought I was going to find this whole gratitude malarkey a walk in the park. I mean, I think I’m a positive person (when I’m not all depressed, that is – and even then…), others certainly think I’m a positive person, I have been practicing the craft of learning the lesson, finding the good for years. Years, I tell you. So realising that I really don’t know as much as I thought I did has come as something of a surprise.
And yet, I haven’t given up. I’m curious to see how being thankful for the things can fit in a lifestyle of a deeper gratitude. I’m wondering why gratitude? If I take the gratitude away, what am I left with? Why are some people more willing to express gratitude than others? What does gratitude do?
Over the last few weeks, I have been part of, and observed, a number of interactions where I would have expected an expression of thanks to be forthcoming and it wasn’t. It’s like a sponge soaking up all the water in the basin, but then you squeeze it and it’s bone dry. Made the whole experience a little more hard work that it needed to be. But it made me realise, some people don’t see the need for gratitude. Bonus lesson: you can’t make someone see the need for gratitude.
Because gratitude has a significant contribution to make to our mental health. It reminds us that we are part of a community – we are not in this alone, if we are doing and being something for others, and they are doing and being for us. It takes the pressure off, because we can’t do and be everything. We weren’t meant to. It requires humility – because we need to admit that hey, something happened and it wasn’t my doing and it’s kinda cool. Gratitude and control freak don’t go together very well, because if you control everything, then when something happens, it is either as you expected, or bad.
Gratitude is an opportunity to live differently – to see the world as it is and embrace the possibilities of that, rather than seeing only what should be and isn’t. So why gratitude? Because it makes life less about hard work and rules, and more about relationships and love.