GRATITUDE- A SKILL FOR HAPPIER LIVING
“An Ungrateful Heart discovers no mercies, but a Grateful Heart will find and discover, in every hern and cranny, in every nook and corner, some heavenly blessings and bliss.”
Gratitude a transcendental feeling has socially and historically been a focal point of several world religions. A point of discussion, a trigger for compassion and empathy towards every good and not so good, we come in contact with, towards our very own surroundings. It is a very casual and common yet an important topic, since ages, to the ancient, medieval and the modern times, people and history. It also continues to interest the contemporary philosophers of the Postmodern times as well.
It is a Universal yet blissful feeling of being grateful, of appreciating, of pleasing, of welcoming and of being Thankful for everything good that we get and everything bad that makes a whole new, changed person that we eventually become in life.
Many times when people help us and we end up having an indebted behavior towards them is when we actually start to gradually take up a feeling of indebtedness towards them and the help they provided us in times of need. However, we must realize this that Gratitude is not the same as the feeling of indebtedness is. It is also that while both the feelings occur following help in times of need, indebtedness is an emotion that occurs when we, as a person perceive that we are under an obligation or a moral and ethical duty to make some repayment of compensation for the help and for the aid that was provided in whichever way to us, in the time of need.
The emotions lead to different feelings and actions following them; indebtedness can motivate us as the recipient of the aid to avoid the person who has helped us in the situation of crisis. Whereas gratitude is one gem of an emotion that can motivate us, being the recipient to be kind to them and to seek out their benefactor and to improve their relationship with us, to create a bond of friendship that we all have in our life.
Gratitude or being grateful serves a lot of purposes in life from making us a better person inside and out to getting to resolve many of the problems in life. The strong yet emotional feeling of gratitude may also serve to reinforce future prosocial and cultural behaviour in benefactors, to our own benefit. For example, one experiment found that customers of a dress designing store who were called and thanked showed a subsequent 75% increase in purchases. In comparison, customers who were called and told about a sale showed only a 25% increase in purchases, and customers who were not called at all and were not informed about the sale did not show an increase in the percent of purchases. In another case of research, it was found in this study that regular patrons of a restaurant gave bigger tips when to their waiters who were polite and very welcoming towards them and who also wrote “Thank you" on their bill receipts.
In the stages of journey called “Life”, there is a whole variety of different things that can conjure the positive feelings of appreciation or gratitude, of happiness and health and of thankfulness and blessings that guides us towards meaning and better health, thereby making a strong impression of our overall personality as an enlightened and aware individual.
Two Stages of Gratitude
There are two stages that help us attain the virtue of being grateful in life. The two stages of gratitude comprise the first level of a right recognition of the goodness in our lives, and then move to how this goodness that we have instilled within us or that came to us, externally lies. These two stages help us discover and recognize and cherish the luck of everything that makes our lives and ourselves better.
• In the first stage, we come across the acknowledgment of goodness in one’s life. In this state of gratitude, we say yes to everything that happens in life. We affirm that all in all, life is going good, and has elements and events and happenings that make worth living, and are rich in texture. The know how, the acceptance and the acknowledgment that we have received something gratifies us, pleases us, both by its presence and by the effort the giver put into giving it.
• In the second stage, gratitude means to achieve the recognition and show it to the people, also, that some of the sources of this goodness lie outside the self. One can be grateful to other people around who helped us, to animals, and to the world, but not to oneself. In this stage, we recognize the goodness in our lives and who to thank for it, who to recognize and appreciate for the goodness they did, for the sacrifices so that we could be happy and we could leave a strong and nice impression.
Perspectives on Gratitude- for a Happier Living, From Ancient to the Modern Times
Ever since the ancient times, the ancient philosophers like Cicero and Seneca have preached the moral and ethical values of behavior, of thought and of gratitude as a key virtue foundational in order for the society in those times to progress and to eventually lead to any successful civilization. To be clear, it is not just ancient and historical philosophers and thinkers who advocated for it, rather there are people, thinkers, philosophers and even the altruistic and philanthropic minds who, even till date, think towards these hard core important topics, who are not that lingered on to the realities of life and actions following up.
Other than the realms of time, there are religious and spiritual movements that have explored the virtue of gratitude, for all times in reckoning, and that the value of truth and justice and most importantly gratitude is a very important requisite for a happier life. It is gratitude that is the need of the times in order to attain a higher power and eventually a happier life.
Gratitude is also a powerful virtue and important tool for strengthening interpersonal relationships and workplace interactions. People who express their gratitude for each other tend to be more willing to forgive and appreciate each other. Gratitude validates the raison d’etre, our purpose for living. We feel grateful, and in the acknowledgement is a sense of fulfillment abundance – it eases our “wanting” minds and we can “pay it forward” by being kind and generous in our actions, creating more gratitude and ultimately more happiness.