Gratitude

Living a Life of Purpose with Gratitude

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How grateful are you today? Give this thought a moment and count the number of time you were thankful? To your surprise you would notice that the number is huge. Isn’t it!

Every aspect of life, be it the clothes we wear, the food that we are enjoying and experiencing are a result of a number of energies. If any of these energies decide to not work or not to do what they had to do, we wouldnt have those things, even with all the money we have. Just open your eyes and see how many things have you nurtured and supported and then will you notice the true power of gratitude.

What is Gratitude?

“When you drink from a stream, remember the spring.” 

The moment I asked myself this question, “What is gratitude?” my mind starts to recall this Chinese proverb to explain gratitude. “When you drink from a stream, remember the spring.” It captures everything in one image: remembering the spring while drinking from the source (stream); symbolising appreciation. It reminds us to be mindful, to be thankful. We often are so tangled in our lives that we forget to appreciate while receiving the most. We keep receiving from the tiny aspects, forgetting that gratitude plays an important role too. It runs as an undercurrent through the most dynamic human experience, in everything and everywhere.

In fact, in both the realms of language and the realm of the soul, thinking and thanking have the same source. Only the grateful are thoughtful. So what is gratitude exactly? 

Harvard Medical School defines gratitude as “a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives, as a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals–whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.” The term gratitude comes from the Latin words ‘gratia’, which means favour, and ‘gratus’, which means agreeable. “Kindness, generosity, presents, the beauty of giving and receiving, or obtaining something for nothing” are all derivatives of this Latin root.

Gratitude is thankfulness and joy shown in reaction to receiving a gift, regardless of whether the gift is merited or not, and whether it is a tangible object or an abstract act of kindness. It can also be a state of mind generated by natural beauty or the solitude of the soul, a state of mind in which the world, with all of its riches and challenges, makes perfect sense, and the world’s gifts can be seen and enjoyed in whatever form they come in.

Gratitude is thus the ability to express gratitude and reciprocate kindness. It is something that we have all experienced at some point in our lives. The ability to list your blessings or gratitude is the most powerful approach to connect with your heart. Your heart is open when you are grateful for what you have. You value the people in your life, and they value you back. Gratitude, in turn, generates even greater abundance.

Levels of Expressing Gratitude

Gratitude is a conscious positive emotion that can be expressed as “I am thankful”. It is the act of expressing gratitude to others and to the things we are grateful for. Expressing gratitude has two levels: The first degree of thankfulness is at a basic level. It is for objects or relationships that occur on a daily basis. These could be anything from being grateful for a roof over your head and food for your children to receiving a grin from a random stranger on the street. This level of gratitude is present in almost everyone.

Next is the ability to appreciate what you have, even after a significant loss, which is the second level of appreciation. With the second degree of gratitude, you express thankfulness even in the face of big setbacks, such as the loss of a job, an accident, or the end of a relationship, as well as great sadness or tragedy, such as the death of a loved one. Not all people experience these life-altering situations. But for some of those who do, this thankfulness aids in the creation of a new life. Even the worst thing that has ever occurred to you – a disease, a disability, or a tragic loss – can lead to new insights, connections, and relationships. Next, we need to understand  the importance of gratitude.

What is the Importance of Gratitude?

When you open the curtains in the morning, gratitude is like the sunlight breaking through the window into your room and illuminating it. This crucial catalyst, which may bring about wonders in people’s lives, is required by everyone. Everyone can benefit from an attitude makeover that involves the art of displaying thanks, from executives and managers to housewives and students. Let’s take a look at why gratitude is so essential and what it can do for people who choose to live a grateful lifestyle:

Gratitude Brings Happiness

Gratitude is the act of focusing on the good aspects in our life. In reality, it is not happy people who are thankful but rather it is the thankful people who are happy. Showing gratitude puts an individual on the path of increasing happiness. It not only brings an optimistic approach but also helps build a better future for ourselves.

Gratitude Helps You Find Life Purpose

Life is a relentless pursuit. If you dig deeper, life is not just about having a good job or having children. Life is about finding meaning, looking for purpose. Gratitude puts us in a path of self realisation. It allows us to be content and reach out to those who need help.

Gratitude Keeps You Healthy

Gratitude has been found to benefit us on both physical and psychological levels in studies. It improves both our physical and mental health. Physically, it aids in the enhancement of our immunity, making us healthier and more active. As a result, we are less prone to become unwell and can lead a more active lifestyle. 

Gratitude Improves Sleep

Gratitude helps in better quality of sleep. There is scientific research that proves this that grateful people before going to sleep, think joyful thoughts to shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and to improve the duration and quality of sleep.

Gratitude Empowers

Gratitude empowers us by allowing us to recognise that life is made up of moments well lived. Gratitude teaches us to be grateful for all of the moments that make up a life, rather than just the good or terrible ones. It brings an optimistic approach towards life. It keeps you positively driven. It allows you to keep your ego in check and helps you enjoy life to its fullest.

Gratitude Brings Personal Development

Gratitude helps in personal development. It gives us a lot of hope for the future. We become less self-centered, with less desire for material stuff, which aids in the development of a spiritual attitude. Our self-esteem improves. All of this makes us happy and pleased, and our whole personality reflects this.

Lastly, given the stresses, strains, and tragedies of modern life, it would be foolish to ignore this very human emotion that has helped humans live a happier life since antiquity. Gratitude has the power to transform you into a really joyful person. Keep things simple, that’s all we need to do. We must focus on the positive aspects of our lives and look forward with optimism to the future. It pays to be grateful for everything that happens to us on a daily basis, both the good and the terrible, for the lessons they teach us. Be grateful and let gratitude speak to you.

Quotes on Gratitude

Here are a few quotes on gratitude that will help you be thankful and inspire to live a life of purpose: 

Being grateful is another essential part of living in connectedness with the heart; it comes naturally. – Eckhart Tolle

Give thanks for sorrow that teaches you pity; for pain that teaches you courage – and give exceeding thanks for the mystery, which remains a mystery still – the veil that hides you from the infinite, which makes it possible for you to believe in what you cannot see. – Robert Nathan 

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven. — Johannes A. Gaertner

Gratitude is an attitude that changes everything. So I tell people that if you really want to use gratitude powerfully, use it even before, not just after, any particular event. – Neale Donald Walsch

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. – Melody Beattie

A hundred times a day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depends on the labors of other men, living and dead and that I must exert myself in order to give in the measure as I have received and am still receiving. – Albert Einstein

Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation. – Brian Tracy 

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all the others. – Cicero

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful. – The Buddha

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is “thank you,” it will be enough. – Meister Eckhardt

Blow, blow, thou winter wind! Thou art not so unkind As man’s ingratitude. – Shakespeare (As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is gratitude?

Gratitude is the expression of gratitude and joy in response to receiving a gift, regardless of whether the gift is well-deserved or not, and whether the gift is a physical object or an abstract act of kindness. The ability to show gratitude and reciprocate kindness is often referred to as thankfulness. It’s something we’ve all had to deal with at some point in our lives.

What is the history of gratitude?

The term gratitude comes from the Latin words ‘gratia’, which means favour, and ‘gratus’, which means agreeable. “Kindness, generosity, presents, the beauty of giving and receiving, or obtaining something for nothing” are all derivatives of this Latin root.

What is the importance of gratitude?

Here is why gratitude is so essential and what it can do for people who choose to live a grateful lifestyle:

  • Gratitude Brings Happiness
  • Gratitude Helps You Find Life Purpose
  • Gratitude Keeps You Healthy
  • Gratitude Improves Sleep
  • Gratitude Empowers

What are the different levels of expressing gratitude?

From being glad for a roof over your head and food for your children to receiving a smile from a random stranger on the street, the first degree of appreciation can be anything. In the second level of gratitude, you exhibit thanks even in the face of major failures, such as losing a job or ending a relationship, as well as deep despair.

Give some popular quotes on gratitude.

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all the others. – Cicero

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is “thank you,” it will be enough. – Meister Eckhardt

Blow, blow, thou winter wind! Thou art not so unkind As man’s ingratitude. – Shakespeare (As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7)

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