When we’re young, we’re taught to say thank you as a simple practice of politeness.
Thank you for dinner. Thank you for having me over. Thank you for the new shoes.
As we grow up, however, we realize that these two simple words – ‘thank you’ – have a much greater meaning than we were ever taught during our primary years. Though saying thank you to others, and showing your appreciation for anything nice that is done to you is important, what’s even greater is showing your appreciation to the world, and instead of just saying the words, feeling the emotion behind them.
That is when we reach gratitude.
Gratitude isn’t a word or a saying, or a practice of politeness. Gratitude is much more than that, and encompasses a feeling, a way of being, and a lifestyle that – as it turns out – is quite critical to happiness.
You see, as human beings we’re incredibly susceptible to bad feelings, negative emotions, and toxic ways of thinking. We have the tendency to dwell on the bad, constantly searching for ways to improve our lives, our social statuses, and our mating opportunities.
We’re all just animals, after all.
But we’ve evolved. We’re animals capable of conscious thought, willful effort, and enormous opportunities for creation. We can look at our negative mindful dwellings and understand how detrimental that is to our current state of being, and ultimately how counterproductive that tendency is to our future progression.
I’m susceptible, too, but I think I’ve found the cure. Funny thing is, it’s the same thing my parents were trying to teach me all along: gratitude.
I never understood what the word gratitude meant before, because I connected it with those two words I had been taught to say as a form of politeness: ‘thank you.’ It wasn’t until I actually learned to feel thankful that I finally understood what gratitude is.
The truth is, gratitude is the best way you can feel.
Feeling grateful for the blessings you have in your life, regardless of how ‘imperfect’ they may be, has the power to wash away any negativity you may feel in relation to them. It reminds you how lucky and blessed you are, and suddenly puts things into proper perspective, allowing your ‘problems’ to shrink to their logical size, and your blessings to grow to their monumental proportions of appreciation, which arguably should have stood so tall all along.
You can never feel too grateful for something you’ve already received, and the amounts of appreciation and happiness you can draw from something positive in your life – virtually anything you feel grateful for – is endless.
The great news is that you can feel grateful for things you haven’t yet received, too. You can take that powerful energy of appreciation and direct it towards your wishes and dreams, suddenly relieving yourself of the stress and pressure of your ‘when will my dreams come true’ line of thought. Suddenly you realize that the timing doesn’t matter, because those things will occur, and instead of waiting, you choose to feel grateful for them – and the process of reaching them – right now.
Gratitude is the best tool for reaching an incredibly happy and peaceful state, no matter how freaked out, anxious, or depressed you may be right now.
Simply choose to shift your perspective from what you don’t have, and opt to acknowledge and appreciate what you do have. Simply choose gratitude over feelings of lacking, and you will prosper.
Simply choose to say – and finally feel – those two words you’ve known for so long.
Read more about how gratitude can transform your life here.