What is Gratitude?
I found the quote above quite fitting as I sit here and reflect on what gratitude means to me. The way I see it, there is a distinct difference between gratitude and being thankful. Although they tend to go hand in hand, I think the blur of distinction between the two sometimes makes it hard to differentiate one from the other.
Gratitude is a quality. It stems from being thankful and from being ready to show appreciation for (and to return) kindness.
Thankfulness is a feeling one has of being appreciative or expressing gratitude.
Clearly, one compliments the other. But for me gratitude is much more than saying thank you or being thankful for what you have. Gratitude is expressing that. Manifesting a quality in yourself, where every day you wake up showing appreciation for your life and ready to pay kindness forward.
Why Gratitude Brings Happiness
What is the meaning of life? Clearly, I am not qualified to answer that age-old question. Nor do I want to even take a guess! But I do think it involves finding happiness.
How can I be happy? Again, I am nowhere near qualified to answer that, but I can share how I have found a great source of happiness, and honestly one of the reasons I chose to write about this topic.
I have found it within the daily practice of resonating gratitude, for my life, for those who share it with me and for the myriad of beautiful things around me.
Simply put, counting your blessings can have a profound impact. This also means that you have to actually STOP what you are doing in your life to count those blessings, which in turn forces you to live in the moment, to be present of everything around you.
It is in that moment, when you are truly aware, truly grateful, that happiness will hit you.
Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself. I am confident you will be smiling in no time!
Manifest Gratitude Every Day
For some people finding and expressing gratitude comes easy, for others it can take time.
My first piece of advice is to slow down. We so often lose sight of the wonderful things in our lives because we are distracted. Whether it be from kids, work, school, our ever-present cell phones, or even our own thoughts. Stop. Breathe. Take it all in. Gratitude will come.
Second, limit expectations. This does not mean that you have to limit your goals, your potential, or that of those around you. However, by not putting so much pressure on yourself, or on others, you will remove the “when I get this done, I will be happy” or “if this person just did this it would make me happy” type of thoughts. If you are constantly striving for one thing after another, it can cause stress and make you forget to enjoy the things you have accomplished and to be thankful for those around you, whether they meet your expectations or not.
Which brings me to my third point in regards to manifesting gratitude – celebrate. Celebrate your achievements, celebrate your family, celebrate love, and celebrate the beauty of things around you. Rejoice, be happy. When you are in “celebration mode” it is hard not to express gratitude. Most importantly, you will want to pay it forward.
As I close, I am reminded what a beautiful and powerful feeling gratitude is. Every day it can remind you that what you have in your life is not only pretty amazing, but can also serve as inspiration to express gratitude to those who deserve it most.