Gratitude: And Why It Matters…
Having recently crossed the half-century threshold (see Aging: Reflections on Turning Fifty…), the mind develops a propensity to recall times bygone (at least mine does). People, places and events spring forth from thoughts of remembrance and thoughts of reflection. And buried deep within these musings is something more than just nostalgic indulgence, but something from which life’s true essence springs, something more meaningful than any wondering recollection can bring forth, something called gratitude.
Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC – 43 BC), who long ago said that “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others,” may have been onto something. It seems the ancients knew a thing or two about the importance of gratitude.
But why? Why does it matter? What’s it to anyone whether we harbor gratitude or not? Isn’t gratitude a private affair? What’s it to someone whether we feel thankful or not?
As much as our contemporary world propagates the “do what you want, when you want attitude,” it’s the person of gratitude that stands out, it’s the person of gratitude that remains unscorched when the travails of life come calling. The grateful person realizes that in every experience, good or bad, lies a lesson, and it’s the recognition and appreciation of life’s lessons that gives meaning to what otherwise is a barren and void existence.
Stemming from within, gratitude radiates outwards. It touches all who come into contact with it. From a sincere “thank you” to a friendly “hello,” the grateful person feels thankful for the ray of sunshine from which his or her shadow is cast. When others frown and curse the day, the grateful person smiles and compliments it. “Another day lived” is the grateful person’s motto.
Gratitude isn’t innate, but developed. It’s an outlook, and a way of looking at the world. It’s the habit of living each moment in the present, and appreciating what each moment brings. It’s the habit of absorbing everything the world offers, and recognizing that we only have a limited amount of time in which to do so. It’s the finiteness of life that the grateful appreciate, and the ungrateful neglect.
To live in a world without gratitude, is to live in despair. Where nothing is appreciated, is where nothing is worthwhile. Where everything is taken for granted, is where nothing has value. The world becomes a cold place, buttressed by those seeking, but never finding. Lost in a vacuum, the ungrateful know not wherefore they come, and know not wherefore they go. Theirs is a world of unfulfilled desire; theirs is a world of poverty.
In contrast, a life with gratitude fills the vacuum and brightens the landscape. A life with gratitude appreciates what once was, and what now is. A life with gratitude knows that everything has a time and place, and above all, a life with gratitude is a love of life, without which no one can long endure.
And that is why gratitude matters…
For more, check out The C.A.T. Principle: Change, Action, Trust – Words to Live By, a Global Ebook Awards GOLD Winner for Best Self-Help Non-Fiction Ebook of 2014, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. See the latest Amazon reviews here. Now revised and expanded, and once again nominated for the Best Self-Help Non-Fiction Ebook of the 2015 Global Ebook Awards!
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