I would like you to think of the last time someone was truly grateful for something you did for them. Not out of habit or because they wanted to get into your good books, but true and simple gratefulness. Someone who acknowledged your contributions - someone who held it close to their hearts. Does it make you want to give them more? Think about it...
Ask yourself - What do 'You' feel is gratitude? Are you the kind of one who acknowledges something that someone has done for you? Do you express genuine gratitude when something truly touches your heart? [Or is that you just don't realize the worth of someone or something in your life?]
Most of us are not grateful for the plenty of things we are blessed with in life. We tend to take things for granted and ignore the valuable assets in our lives. How many of you are grateful for having a supportive family? Do you feel grateful for living your life and learning from it? Or are you ungrateful for it?
Sometimes people are ungrateful because they do not understand the importance of things that affect their lives. There are others who fail to appreciate what they have. They crib, cry and complain, not realizing how fortunate they are. This attitude of ungratefulness may lead to self-pity, bitterness and pushing the blame on other factors when things go wrong. It's a pretty sad situation! And believe me, once you fall into this trap it takes a lot of effort to get out of it.
People could also be ungrateful if a bad event occurs. They have no clue how to get over it. Friedrich Nietzsche aptly said, "That which do not kill us makes us stronger." By recognizing a bad issue as a lesson and by learning from it, we can be grateful for it as gratefulness will help us heal and grow stronger. Just because something bad happened to you doesn't mean you'll get stronger automatically. It works only if you treat yourself properly after the injury. Remember that, being grateful for it doesn't mean that you're asking for more or that you want it to happen again. It's just one of the ways of healing your wound.
Moving on, there are four kinds of people when it comes to Gratitude:
1. The first type are blessed with the Best things in life... however, they aren't grateful for what they have
2. The second kind are the ones who, at the start of life, go through rough patches but later on achieve what they've wished for. Yet they are ungrateful as they feel that their present state is a 'compensation' for what they did not have earlier
3. The third set of people are those who have less but are grateful for whatever little they receive
4. The last kind are those who have everything in life. These people understand the value of what they have and are grateful for it
Now, what type of person do you feel you are? Are you one of the last two? If you're not, it's easy to start being grateful...
Begin with small things, for example-
Be grateful/show your gratitude for:
A. Having great and crazy friends
B. A lovely family
C. People who genuinely help you
D. Those who stood/stand by you through any situation in life
E. Having the things you need the most in life with you
and so on... build your own list now.
You could note down new things to be grateful for everyday - read them every night before going off to bed. Trust me, it will help you sleep better too! :)
Learn to appreciate the small things that make your life. Be grateful when a person smiles at you, you will be happy knowing that he didn't glare at you!
Most of all, don't forget to EXPRESS your gratitude. When you are grateful to someone, go up to him and say, "Hey, Thank you! I'm glad I have a good friend like you!" Wouldn't you like someone come up to you and saying those exact words to you? Train yourself never to put off the word or action of gratitude.
Being grateful for everything that happens, good or bad is one of the biggest shifts in the way you think. Gratitude for the good will give you more of it. Gratitude for the bad is what you need to learn in order to grow; without it, the tears in your heart and mind will always be there.
So, the next time you are grateful for something, act out your gratitude, and if you are grateful to someone, begin by telling them what you feel.
Stop taking things for granted, and Remember -
"You don't know what you've got, until you say Goodbye."
NOTE: This piece was written by me as an assignment at college. I would like to thank my friend Sharon who contributed in creating the foundation of this work; it helped me elaborate on the theme.