Lack of gratitude is something that is often criticized. But how does this fit together when we ourselves often forget to be grateful. Have we forgotten to be grateful or do we even refuse to be grateful?
It is always easy to portray other generations or social classes as ungrateful. However, this rather leads to a circular motion around a problem and not to its solution.
It will be difficult to associate gratitude with unpleasant feelings.
Negative associations with gratitude
It doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a bad person if you are ungrateful. I know I’m going out on a limb here, but you should always take external circumstances into consideration.
How could you associate gratitude with negative experiences and become ungrateful?
1.Association with submission: Your rescuer in distress has averted the danger and now you fear that you must do whatever your rescuer asks of you.
2.Association with loss: Someone finds your wallet and you have to pay a finder’s fee. Maybe you had the idea to find it yourself.
3.Association with weakness/envy: You are made aware of all the abilities you lack. You also want to be so strong and clever to be able to protect yourself.
4.Association with guilt: You were helped and now the same is expected of you at another time.
Replace the wrong associations with positive associations:
1.Your helper becomes your friend and you become his friend.
2.You like to donate money because you want to reward honesty.
3.You look at what your rescuer does better. He shows you the way to success if you accept him as a role model.
4.You help someone else out of a jam. Not out of guilt, but as a test that you now know how to do better.
No one will see themselves as ungrateful across the board. However, you should reflect on your behavior every now and then. Ungratefulness subliminally works against your goals. Everyone has had a weak moment when they act ungrateful. If you have the courage to admit your mistakes, you show strength even if it makes you feel weak.
Positive chain reactions
If you openly express your gratitude, you show positive feedback to the people who do you good or/and help you further.
How does your environment know that they treat you right if you don’t give them feedback.
If we travel way back in time, gratitude was a survival strategy of a group. If you were successful after a hunt and shared your prey out of gratitude, then you could be sure that your group members would share with you if you did not catch any prey.
Those who did not share were more and more excluded from the group. In the end, it was already true there: what you expect from others, do also to them.
Don’t worry, in today’s society you will not starve if you are ungrateful. However, you can equate the spoils of that time with the prosperity of today. The more you help others to improve their personal situation, the more people will help you to improve your personal situation. Grateful people help grateful people. It is as simple as that. Or is it? You will always meet people who are ungrateful. The trick is to distinguish grateful people from ungrateful people. In addition, gratitude depends on many factors: mood, culture, social environment, education… .
The idea of being taken advantage of and then being worse off tastes bitter. Ask yourself what sign you want to send to the outside world?
In the long run? It doesn’t work!
If you deprive your helpers of the bread to live on, you also make them destitute. Whether they see through you or not. If they can’t help you at all, they won’t help you. Apart from that, word gets around quickly when the benefits only go in one direction.
Gratitude inwardly and outwardly
Help yourself, then God will help you. Be grateful about yourself. With this I don’t want to conjure up narcissism, but to encourage you to be content with yourself. Or better put, be grateful to have you. I have me. I am me.
Now the following might sound childish or even paranoid alla ,,Fight Club“:
How will you expect help from yourself if you are not grateful for you? Will you continue to support yourself if you don’t direct gratitude inward? Sounds a bit spooky to have to justify yourself to yourself.
However, I don’t know of any being other than humans who are prone to masochism. Self-destruction (letting oneself go is included here) does not take place when one is grateful for oneself.
So how can you turn your gratitude inward and practice it?
Look into a lake that reflects your likeness. Say thank you:
Thank you for my remaining hair. This is not about making comparisons with other people. This is solely about you. So it’s not about having more hair than others, but having hair at all (somewhere for sure).
You do the game with your eyes, with your nose, your hands and all other body parts you should be thankful for. It’s not necessarily necessary to trumpet it out loud. You will either be called a narcissist or an escaped patient. So as long as you are not sure that no one is watching you… an inner monologue will do.
You can also be grateful for your abilities:
Thank you that I can run, jump and swim.
Thank you that I can breathe without worries.
Thank you that I can think clearly.
As you can see, it’s not really hard to find something to be grateful for.
A sincere smile is a big thank you to those around you. In addition, a nice greeting to every acquaintance you meet. Most people take it for granted. Have you ever been offended by an honest smile? Or has it lifted you through the day?
Watch your facial expressions to determine if you are grateful for your life right now. Say yes to life. It needs to be deeply embedded in your consciousness.
Order and cleanliness:
Are you grateful for your inventory and your premises? Before you constantly reach out to your friends and acquaintances full of gratitude, you should sweep your own house. It doesn’t sound spectacular now, and it even sounds conventional and stuffy. However, it makes a huge difference whether you live in a well-kept or a chaotic environment. Whether you drive an Audi A4 or an Opel Corsa. Your peers would rather get a clean, tidy car.
Give and take:
In the ideal case, life will give us as much as we are willing to give back. The only problem is that we can’t estimate the ratio. You should not see giving per se as a loss. If you help someone with a job, you may pick up a trick or two. So when you give, you may as well gain. Just like your friend whom you help. Finally, it’s a nice gesture to show your friends and family how grateful you are for them. Your arms and legs get moving. Being there for other people helps you grow. However, never lose sight of your own building sites in the process. Some people tend to push important tasks aside by worrying about other people’s problems all the time. In addition, you should not force your help on anyone. Like you, other people grow from their obstacles. A healthy measure helps here, too.
So what does gratitude have to do with success?
Look at successful personalities and answer the question for yourself. How grateful do the successful people around you seem? You may think enviously and say to yourself: Yes, now that they have enough and are successful, they are ready to show a little gratitude. But is that really true? Maybe before they had only modest means to show their gratitude. Do you even notice small gestures of gratitude when they come from a small citizen. It is definitely noticed by the successful people at some point. It reminds them of their own journey in life. For the most part, the gratitude has always been there. Your person benefits from the network effect when you leave a positive feeling with those around you. Eventually, it reaches people who offer you new opportunities. You trigger positive follow up reactions until it goes over your head and you become ungrateful with snubbing your peers.
Deep inside, every human being has the aspiration to live with gratitude. I would even argue that it is in the true nature of man. It is at least an important building block to feel fulfillment. So, as early as possible, one should break away from associating gratitude with bad feelings. Further, we ourselves have the expectation that everyone knows what gratitude in itself means. So it is obvious that society does not consider it necessary to address it. However, the more one deals with the topic, the less tangible it seems. A simple thank you, can give a person the sign to move on.
If something is available for free, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has no value. For understanding, you can imagine water in a desert. We can decide for ourselves whether we want to tap new sources or move through the desert. After a long stretch of thirst, we realize the difference between a value and the price of something.
Leading by example is a good way to propagate behavior.
I would like to express my gratitude here. For all the opportunities and privileges that have come my way so far in my life. For all the faces that have helped me to clear heavy stones out of the way and much more that I cannot list. Much I have unfortunately forgotten again.
Many thanks to you readers.
Thank you for your time spent here.
Now you are asked
Your thoughts are welcome in the comment field
What are you most thankful for?
Please write in the comments.
The following books have inspired me for this blog (desert novels):
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Dreamcatcher by Marlo Morgan