What is Gratitude?
Many people really have little idea what gratitude really is. Unfortunately the subject of gratitude is shunned by many people and I was that way for a long time. The reason for this is because there is not enough knowledge about what gratitude really is.
I hated the term for a long time because I always thought it meant to just settle for less. I also thought I had to be thankful for something that I really did not like. And I was happy to fall onto an article about the truth about gratitude, and how it has been misrepresented. Unfortunately I cannot find the article because if I did I would share it.
But here is the thing. If children are not taught what gratitude really is, they will reject it. If you, for instance received an ugly coat from your not so-well-liked aunt when you were 9 years old and moaned and groaned about it. Then your mother angrily said to you “show gratitude for that and stop moaning”, you would feel resentful and cringe every time you hear that term thereafter. Sure it is the polite thing to thank your aunt for that. But if you did not like it, that is how you felt. This kind of thing is something that many people have experienced.
Another reason that many people reject the term is because if they do not achieve their dreams, they think they have no business feeling let down because they have the bare basics to sustain life that many others do not. Now that is usually a time to step back and realize that you really don’t have it so bad. However, that does not mean to stop achieving for more and to stop believing you deserve more. This is where people make the mistake. Yes, we have to remind ourselves to count our blessings and not our problems. However, at the same time it does not mean you have to shut off your feelings about being let down since something you were hopeful for did not happen. It also does not mean to not try again. Expressing gratitude does not mean to settle for less.
All gratitude means is “thank you”. That is it. And if you don’t like something in your life, who says you have to be thankful for it? The worst thing you can do is to be “thankful” for something that is in reality just a pain to you. If you do that, then you are twisted the meaning around again.
If you are unhappy about something that is beyond your control (and you have to remember that circumstances do change too and many times you need to change for that to happen), then think about the things you do consider to be blessings in your life and thank the Universe for it. You can thank the Universe for giving you shelter, food, clothing, and your children, your spouse (well, if you going through a divorce then leave that one out), your pet, etc.. all the things you love and all the things that are helping you survive. Thank the Universe for that, nothing else if you don’t feel there is anything else in your life to be thankful for. Be honest about it. Don’t over-complicate it.
In fact if you thank the Universe for the great things in your life, you will receive more. It does happen. Think about this. If you say for instance give your time to someone and that person did not appreciate the fact that you had given your time to him/her, how likely will you do that person a favor again? If that person genuinely thanked you for taking the time to help him/her, you would be more inclined to help again in the future. I realize that it may be contradicting to you giving someone a gift that he or she did not like. And you will know either way. If someone insincerely says “thank you”, you will pick that insincerity up and not give to that person again either. But if that person thanks you for your generosity, but at the same time is honest about why the gift is not right for him or her, you would be more inclined to give that person what he or she really likes in the future.
This is why it really is no different to express gratitude to something you do not care for than not expressing any gratitude at all. If you love something or you are glad you are not that homeless person you saw in the middle of downtown the other day, then that is when to let the Universe know you are thankful.
It is easy to forget about the good things in your life when you are filled with stress but if you think of just three things a day you are truly grateful for, your life will get better AND you will find yourself more abundant and getting what you truly desire in the end as well.
I also want to mention that you may hate a bad situation happening to you at the time, but months down the road or sometimes even longer you will see yourself better off in many ways since the negative issue came up. Like I was so angry about my old friends backstabbing me last year but now I see, having them in my life would actually be hindering my success! But it sure is difficult to be grateful for that at the time it is happening. And when that is the case, feel what you need to feel.