The Importance of Gratitude
Lionel Hampton defines gratitude, as “a memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind”. Gratitude is more than an emotion; it is our behavior, our attitude, and our lens of the world. How we view life is often a reflection of how grateful we are. Gratitude, this lens of the world, can help us to view life’s circumstances differently, more positively.
Have you every felt like life wasn’t going your way? Maybe you’re unhappy with your job, you want your dream car, or you simply haven’t achieved what you’d have like to at this point in life. Human nature leads us to believe we may be satisfied and happy once we achieve something great or are able to purchase things of value. Gratefulness may take us places we’ve never dreamed of, places ambition never could.
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow (Melody Beattie).” When we are grateful for all of life’s happenings, we are able to see that everything has a purpose—Even terrible and hurtful experiences. Therefore, is there purpose in our pain? According to Romans 8:28 "All things work out for the good of those that love the Lord." Every detail, life event, and experience is all for our good.
When we are able to look at our struggles and see and appreciate how they’ve enriched our lives, then, we are truly grateful. Being able to accept that even though life isn’t going the way we planned, is acknowledgment that we are still blessed. It is sometimes difficult to express gratitude when we are bogged down by issues and focused on self. I remember my season of depression; I was so blinded by my problems and insecurities that I couldn't appreciate the things that were going right in my life. Once I was able to overcome that season I was able to look back, evaluate, and see it as a blessing instead of a burden or curse.
I think overcoming trials and struggles allows us to appreciate and be more thankful for our experiences and the simplest things in life, like waking up, experiences we often take for granted; there are some that don’t get that privilege. I like to remember and reflect on 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Be grateful for life, as Gratitude is the root of happiness and a peaceful life.
How to be more Grateful?
1. Spend time with God
2. Identify at least one thing each day that you are grateful for
3. Make it your duty to say thank you
4. Be present-Do not focus on the past or the future
5. Tell people how thankful you are for what they’ve done
6. Forgive others
7. Be less materialistic
8. Accept life as a gift
9. Focus less on yourself
10. Celebrate Life!