What is Gratitude?
New Ideas To Consider

What is gratitude?  What does gratitude mean?  Is it an attitude?  Is it a feeling?  Is it a thought?  Is it an act?  We think we know… but what is it actually?  Does it have anything to do with being thankful?  What does it have to do with how you live your life?  

Let’s start with a definition of gratitude.  And for that let’s use a reliable source, that being the Internet of course!!  And what do we find?

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language provides the following definition of gratitude: The state of being grateful; thankfulness  

Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary offers this gratitude definition: The quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful

So gratitude is defined as a state or feeling of being grateful or being thankful.  How about that!  So what are the benefits of gratitude?  What is the importance of gratitude if there is any at all?

What would happen if your definition of gratitude were to add a few new ideas?  What if you had an expanded answer when asked: “So what is gratitude?”  How about this?  Gratitude is a key to open doors to an abundant and fulfilling life.  Or how about this?  Gratitude is a bridge, not only to others, but to yourself.  It gets you thinking doesn’t it?

Robert Emmons, a researcher from University of California, defines gratitude as being two things.  1) Acknowledgement that there are good things such as kindness, generosity and compassion in the world and we have benefited from them.  2) We acknowledge that these gifts come from outside of ourselves.  That is to say, good things come to us from other people or other sources.  It is in this affirmation, that we recognize and appreciate the benefit of our connection to others and to the world. 

A Bridge to Others

Imagine living your life completely alone.  Difficult isn’t it?  We are not islands.  We do live in a connected world.  We do live in relationship to others.  Now, think about those relationships.  What do they look like?  What words come to mind? Love?  Hate?  Apathy?  Tolerance?  Respect?  Awe?  Envy?  Reverence?  Scorn?  Distrust?  Trust?  You get the drift.  

What about gratitude?  Where does gratitude fit into this mosaic of reactions… into this mosaic of connections?  How do you choose to build the bridge between yourself and others?  What would happen if all other possible responses were washed away by choosing GRATITUDE?  

What would happen if, in your connected world, you saw nothing but pleasure from everyone you met?  Nothing but opportunity?   Nothing but lessons learned?  What would happen if you were to choose gratitude as the natural response to all interactions with others?  What could be more natural?  We are here to learn and grow.  Everyone we meet is a teacher and a student.    

A Bridge to Self

So what’s your inner dialogue?  What role does your inner voice play in your life?  Is it there on occasion? Is it there day in and day out?  What is its message?  How does it influence you?  How does it empower you?  How does it limit you?

What would happen if your inner voice became you strongest supporter?  What would happen if your inner voice was filling your head with gratitude for all that you have, all that you are, all that you do and all you are experiencing?  

The truth is that a definition of gratitude can include any or all of the following:

A sense of well-being

A source of health

A source of happiness

An antidote for lack

An antidote for pessimism

The key to growth

A game changer

A direction changer

The key first step towards a positive life

A shift in attitude

A positive filter

So, what is gratitude?  Gratitude is so much more than a state or feeling of being grateful or being thankful.  Gratitude is a game changer, a direction changer and a key first step towards an abundant and happy life. There are so many benefits.

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