We often hear people talk about gratitude. For some, it’s no more than a fluffy sentiment. For me, gratitude is a powerful tool. There are many benefits to experiencing and expressing gratitude. I say, you should always squeeze the lemon juice out of your lemons. We all have lemons in our lives. We all have those bad events, environments, or situations that are less than desirable, to say the least. What is true, however, is that there is good in everything, just as there is lemon juice in every lemon. We have all heard people referencing the phrase, seeing things as a glass half empty or half full. The fact of the matter is that sometimes we see the glass as not half empty or half full. Sometimes we see it as mostly empty or mainly full. Regardless of the situation, there is always a way to identify the blessing in anything. I want to talk about seven reasons why we should always express gratitude and be thankful. Though, I am sure that there are far more than that. However, I am going to discuss seven of them.
Firstly, gratitude is a gift that you give to yourself. When you are thankful you put a smile on your face, because you are letting the joy inside of you that is connected to the positive that you have received. You can receive something positive but refuse the joy that can come with it. People do it every day. Gratitude allows you to experience that joy. For example, you can have a puppy that has accidents in your house three times a day. You may experience misery from the puppy’s accidents throughout your house as it gets trained. Or you may exercise the power to focus on how cuddly, the puppy is, how loyal the puppy is to you, or how the puppy warns you of danger. You may experience joy thinking about the companionship and security that the puppy provides. However, it is up to you to receive that joy. The same applies to your personal relationships. You can appreciate your spouse and be happy for the companionship that you receive. Or you can only choose to focus on the dishes left in the sink. If you have a loved one who is ill, you can focus on their sickness and their pain or you can focus on the time that you have with them to say whatever you want to say and hear from them whatever they want to say. You can focus on the hugs that you can give them and the warmth that you can provide for each other. Gratitude is a gift of Joy that you choose to give to yourself.
The second reason for gratitude is the gift that you give to others. When someone says “thank you” to you, it makes you feel a certain way. It makes you feel appreciated and sometimes even loved. It validates your actions. It rewards your efforts. That is a gift that you can give to others.
The third reason for gratitude is to receive the lessons that gratitude teaches you. In all bad things there are lessons. In all good things in life, there are lessons as well. We usually only want the good things in life. However, often times when we get the good things in life, we are lazy about learning the lessons that come with them. Sometimes, it takes the bad things for us to accept the lessons that we need to learn. Sometimes the bad things are the only ways that we can experience the best joy possible. For example, when we miss a flight, and spend the night in the airport hotel or even the airport itself, it helps us to appreciate our homes that we often take for granted or our loved ones that we see every day. Gratitude affords us the opportunity to realize that it could have been worse.
The fourth reason for gratitude is to make the world a better place. When you pass gratitude to others, they are your witness of how beautiful that behavior is and they pass it on to someone else. It creates a harmonious chain of love. You teach others how to show love in a simple way. When you are around children, you teach children how to show love in a simple way. Gratitude is one of the easiest ways to reciprocate love and positive feelings.
The fifth reason why gratitude is so important is because it helps you to smell the roses and enjoy life more deeply and more often. When we appreciate what we have, we spend more time with it; we spend more time with them. We stop and smell the beautiful roses in our lives, whether the roses are actual roses made up of different colors, red, yellow and white, or the roses metaphorically represent family members and friends. We appreciate what is in sight; we spend more time enjoying those roses and less time chasing after the wind.
The sixth reason why gratitude is so important is because it helps us to get more in the future. The more we show our appreciation for gifts that God gives us, the more gifts he wants to give to us. Just as when someone you love shows appreciation for something that you give, you want to give them more, because you know that it makes them happy. So open your arms to more gifts by expressing your gratitude to God today.
The seventh reason that we should express gratitude is because every single breath that we take is a privilege. Not one month, one day, one minute or second is promised to any of us. Just as we celebrate the miracle of a baby being born, we should celebrate every breath that we get to take on this earth. Every breath is a gift from God. We should continuously thank God for the gift of each breath, because we want to continue to receive the gift of breath, which is life.
Please show your gratitude every day. Start your day by giving God thanks. This is the day that the Lord has made. We shall rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).