You’d think this would be an easy article to write, I mean what’s not to be grateful for right ? Then again, being grateful is more than just saying thank you. I could just write a big long list of everything, you read it, we’d all agree and go home. Well, the more I thought about it, the more I became confused. Actually, confused is the wrong word. I Just didn’t know where to start. Then I did. I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to share my thoughts with you.
There, how hard can it be ? I could follow that up with saying how thankful I am for your time and effort in reading my posts. I feel better already. Interestingly, only yesterday I read an article about being thankful and the author postulated that being ‘grateful’ is actually beneficial to our health. This intrigued me, so I did a quick search and here’s what I found.There were six other factoids in the article. It was from the Psychology Today website. They were all good one’s too, from sleeping better to quelling all of those negative emotions we can have from time to time. Who knew. So to Jules, who made me aware of the phenomenon, I thank you. Now I feel better again.
It’s ironic that I finally got round to writing this today, as it’s Thanksgiving day in the USA. 28TH November 2019. There’s been a melee of online activity and an outpouring of love and emotions. I would be foolhardy not to bathe in that inspiration and turn it into my own appreciation of all that is ‘gratitudinal’, if that’s even a word.
I made some notes, as is good practice, in preparation for this post. So far I’m ad-libbing. The notes are salient but I wrote them to try and help me grasp exactly what it was I wanted to say about being grateful. There does seem to be a never ending number of levels to it. Not least the connection with saying ‘Thank you’ they are intertwined in our understanding. Yet they differ depending on when and where they are used.
Someone may hold a door open for you and you say thank you. Yes, you’re grateful for the gesture but you don’t necessarily have the same feeling as when you’re struggling to lift something and someone lends you a hand to complete the task. Then you feet more grateful because you are fully aware that without their help you would have struggled and might not have been able to complete the job in hand.
So being grateful is more to do with how we feel rather than how the other person is being thanked for their help ? Are we grateful for or grateful to ? Now you understand why I was having difficulties getting this started. Maybe I’ll just layout my thoughts and you can decide which, if any, are relevant or on the mark.
It could be a way of making sure we don’t take things for granted. Yet we quite often forget, sometimes for days and weeks on end. Then something will remind us and we have a sense of being grateful. Those of you who have religious beliefs can very well be grateful on a daily basis, through prayer or ‘grace’ before meals. Thankful for all you have and for those around you.
If we are humble does that mean we automatically have a built in feeling of gratitude ? That in turn makes me think more of the different levels. I’ll start with a quote of unknown source but does have a way of being at the start of where gratefulness begins.
“Everyday above ground is a good day”
It’s not a morbid thought but more one that strips everything away and makes you think that no matter what your life is like, the alternative is far worse. Though I am sure that their are some that might disagree, depending on their personal circumstances. We can all hope that life can get better, even if it doesn’t seem like there is light at the end of the tunnel, sometimes.
Would I be right in saying that those who take things for granted are the one’s who have more to be grateful for ? I cannot list all those who have less fortunate lives than mine because I am sure I will overlook someone. Those who are being persecuted on a daily basis are surely grateful for respite. Those who live on the streets without homes are grateful for shelter, warmth and food. Things that I take for granted yet am grateful for but forget to be regularly.
Those who are estranged from loved ones are grateful just to hear word that they are safe. They may not even be physically far apart but the work they do has levels of risk that we take for granted, yet their families are grateful every time they return through the door at the end of the day or shift. Grateful that the phone doesn’t ring with an unknown number or the door gets knocked when no one is expected.
The above are all very real examples and, like I said, there are to many to mention but if you give it some thought, I’m sure you will come up some of your own. Some things cross the divide, as is apparent in a couple of the examples above. Whether you’re rich or poor, it still allows one to be grateful for our loved one’s being healthy and safe. There is though a difference between being thankful for not getting stuck in a traffic jam and being grateful that your test results came back negative.
If, you think you have nothing to be grateful for then maybe think that there is always someone worse of than you. We can’t feel the guilt for everyone’s problems, that’s not possible or healthy. We can however be grateful for what we have. The chances are, if you’re reading this then you have plenty to be thankful for.
Many are out there in the world, as we speak, being grateful for a good crop harvest, for food on the table, albeit it might just be bread, for work so that they can have money for food and clothes, for their health and the well-being of their children, siblings or parents.
Being grateful that we have good friends. Friends that will be there for us when we need them the most, who will put their own life on hold while they tend to us. Still, this has turned into one long list, which I was trying to avoid. Being grateful is something we should relish remembering to do. As I’ve been writing, this came through into my inbox, from a subscription I have, so it wasn’t spam.
“Don’t get me wrong: being in a state of gratitude all the time does not mean you’re grateful for everything – that’s just impossible.
It means that you’re constantly connected to all the blessings in your life and you’re always able to find the lesson and positive side to every situation or outcome.”
They seemed to have summed it up quite nicely. It’s true though, we could spend an enormous amount of time just being grateful for things and that isn’t possible or needed. It’s not a test. I have a ‘Grateful stone’ that I keep in my pocket. Every time I put my hand in there to pull out some change I can feel the stone and it is a trigger to feel grateful. If, you wanted to you could turn it on its head. If, you are in a situation that isn’t the best, you have a challenge, you can be grateful for the opportunity to learn from the experience. That in itself is a great way not to get sucked into the negativity that life can throw at us.
One more quote and then I’ll leave you be, you might be grateful for that.
“We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Rather than complain about the things you think you deserve, take a few moments to focus on all that you have. Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life.” Amy Morin.
Life is not promised and doesn’t come with a guarantee of either prosperity or longevity and can change in an instance. Be grateful for what you have because it’s worth remembering that those who have little are grateful what they do have.
22 thoughts on “Being Grateful Is More Than Saying Thank You”
Hey There Twack, Thanks so much for this timely message on gratitude, and when I say timely I mean that any and every time is a great time to be aware of what we can be grateful for. Some great thoughts here on a topic that is a focus that can change people’s lives. I love the idea of the gratitude stone it’s a wonderful way to keep the gratitude awareness current all day long. Thanks for a great read
Hi Paul, you’re very welcome and thank you for a wonderful comment, truly appreciated. I heard about the ‘gratitude stone’ idea a few years ago and then my wife picked up a stone when she was on her travels. You’re right, of course, having that reminder and keeping our awareness up is only a good thing. If it becomes second nature for us, then that’s even better. Have a good one.
Very inspiring thoughts on being grateful. For me being grateful is appreciating even the smaller things in your life. Moreover, if you think positively for any circumstances, you will be grateful for anything that comes your life which in turn will allow you to have contentment. You are right in your title that saying Thank You does not convey real gratitude. Gratitude must be felt from within.
Hi Dan, you’ve made some really good points. Appreciating the smaller things in life gives us a much better perspective. All the good stuff comes form within, I like that. Thank you for taking the time to drop by.
Yes, grateful’ is actually beneficial to our health. Being grateful is a way of life and value. Being grateful will make you understand others better, and you will not go to extremes when things go wrong. Being grateful will make it easier to reflect on yourself and achieve progress. Thanks for your sharing.
Yes, absolutely right. The health benefits are understated but definitely there. Being grateful does give you a better understanding of what the value of things are. Appreciate you taking the time to comment, thank you.
Was it your intent to mean that almost everyone, no matter their circumstances has something to be grateful for. I’m sure it must have been because you make a very good point with plenty of proof for that.
I think you hit the nail on the head with your assessment that being grateful isn’t just saying thank you, but a deeper feeling in your heart.
You mentioned being grateful for prayer which makes me think about all the stories in the news about people being persecuted for their faith. You wonder what they are grateful for and I think they are grateful to be alive and whether they realize it or not being alive means there’s a chance things will improve.
Like you said being grateful takes many forms. For some people its the little day to day things they are grateful for. For instance family, shelter and food on the table. Many people here is the U.S. take these for granted and don’t give a thought about how they should be grateful.
For other people it’s larger things such as having a job, having their health or being able to live where they want. Then there are the people at the top of the food chain. These are the ones that are in government or some other large decision making position. They could be grateful that no one has declared war on their country, that there is not some widespread and deadly disease or that there hasn’t been an accident where major leaders may have been killed.
While I’m not as wealthy as I’d like to be I’m grateful for what I have. I’ve lived longer than most people and at 84 years old I’m in good health and able to exercise on a regular basis. I’ve been married to my wonderful wife for more than 50 years. All of my children are healthy and doing well. I have a roof over my head and plenty of food on the table, All things considered I have more things to be grateful for than most people in the world.
I think you did a great job writing the article and it shows in the amount of research you must have done. It was easy to read and held my interest to the end. I’m grateful for the chance to read something like this and to be reminded of all I should be grateful for. Thank you. .
Well Don, you have taken your comment to the next level and for that I am eternally grateful and that’s the truth. You’ve made some excellent points and given me even more to be thoughtful about. Being grateful, amongst other things, can be relative. I have no feelings, good or bad, for those in a much better position than I in life. We should all be grateful for what we have, whether that is alot, or a little. Wherever we fit into the grand scheme of things we should recognise what we have and be grateful for it all.
You sound like an exceptionally decent and humble man and it’s been my pleasure and honour to have you take the time to comment on my post.
Hell there thanks for this awesome article it would be of great help to the public as it importance cannot be overemphasized.For me being grateful is appreciating even the irrelevant things in your life. However, if you think positively in every situation, you will be very grateful for anything and everything that comes your way.so in a nut shell we all must be greatfull.
Well David, I am truly grateful for such an energetic comment. For me, being grateful is at its utmost when it comes from deep inside ourselves. The small, and to some, insignificant things are where we really show our worth. More than just saying thank you, that’s for sure. Appreciate you taking the time. All the very best to you.
I competely agree with you on this. I of course do make sure to say thank you when somebody does something for me, whether it’s help me move my couch or as simple as opening a door for me, but it’s so much more than that. Not only do I feel like doing something nice for somebody else after that, but I’m sure the person doing the nice thing feels good about the kind act and wants to continue doing nice things for others. Thank you for the positive post, it’s exactly what I needed to read this morning!
Hey Travis, you’re very welcome and thank you for taking time out to read my post. Yes, it can work as a two way street, for sure. Showing true gratitude hopefully spurs others on to do the same, as they remember how it felt for them to be thanked.
Interesting post Twack! Thanks!
It’s not always that I find a post of this nature on the internet, so I am thankful that I found it…but, did I find it or was there something or someone that brought it to my attention?
I guess that would depend on whether everything, including our very existence, is just a mindless rambling act of occurrences, inconsequential and insignificant happenings of nothings…
Whether everything from the tiniest little critter burrowing on the ground to the biggest and toughest humans are creations. Were the simple and uncomplicated things on earth placed there by a loving, thoughtful and caring Higher Power?
Because I think that being thankful would necessarily depend on whether we accept the former or the latter.
If they are rambling acts and occurrences, inconsequential and insignificant happenings of nothings then what’s the point of being thankful/grateful?
I prefer to believe and accept the later…that there is a loving, thoughtful and caring Higher Power, that is God! That I can believe in because He is real and worship everyday with at a minimum a “thank you.”
It truly makes sense to be grateful and thankful, if the latter, there is a purpose then…perhaps that’s why the Bible tells us, “Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
Hey Christie, thank you for such a wonderful comment. Whatever we believe I think that gratitude has a major part to play in our own well-being and that of others. This not only helps us bring joy to others but there is also the chance that they, in turn will do the same.
Twack, you have hit upon a subject that is dear to my heart. I feel that gratitude is so important, and that if we learn to be grateful on a regular basis for all our blessings, we are doing a good thing. I believe that expressing your gratitude can lead you to experiencing more and more things that you can be grateful for.
I often take a few minutes just after I’ve gone to bed and think of all the things that happened in my day for which I am grateful. If we like what we have been given, why not let the Universe know and perhaps more will come our way? It is perhaps a way of showing humility instead of too much pride — some unexpected (or even expected) good has touched us, and we need to be humble in our acceptance of the good it’s brought into our lives.
Yep, when people ask me how I am doing, I often say, “I’m on the right side of the plywood.” Yes, I’m grateful for that.
Hello Fran, you have made such wonderful observations. There are many that believe that being grateful is ahead of all else. I feel that being grateful on a regular basis can only be a good thing, for sure. Humility and humbleness are so infrequently seen these days and are yet such rich qualities to have.
“I’m on the right side of the plywood.” made my day, so I thank you for that and your insightful reply.
I feel that both being grateful and saying thank you go together. I know what you are trying to say though. I think when you say thank you, you have to say it like you mean it, not just say it because you are auto piloting. That is so interesting that gratitude improves our health, time to stay positive and be more gratitude for me. Your post reminds me of my favorite book of all time “The Alchemist”, happiness is really right here around you but you just have to acknowledge it and be grateful for it. Well said!
You are so right. It has almost become a throw away comment, like ‘Are you alright ?’ which everyone uses but isn’t that bothered about getting an answer to. Say it because you mean it. I love a tip for a book, I shall have to look it up. Thank you so much, I truly appreciate you taking the time to visit and read my post.
Hey Twack, such an encouraging post. You have reminded me of how often I feel grateful for the life I lead now. It took some work but every year it is closer to my dreams. I often lie in bed and remind myself of all I am grateful for and I’m sure it has improved my outlook and health. We draw to us what we think about.
I loved your point about receiving and giving gratitude. A thank you can makes someones day. Truly being appreciative can change a life.
Lily, an absolute pleasure that you’ve dropped in and to leave such a wonderful reply as well. So much to be grateful for, every day. If we are constantly grateful then everything is taken in our stride. Happy from the start, to the end, of each and every day.
I am very grateful that you took the time to read my post and leave some well chosen and thoughtful words.
An excellent post Twack and one I agree with wholeheartedly.
Gratitude is a very good habit to get into. I must admit this is a timely reminder for me as I had got out of mine being so busy work wise. I do believe I had almost stopped thinking. This though has sparked the brain back to life.
Tonight as I go to sleep I shall remember to be grateful and in the morning too.
It is very good for your health, I recall reading that years ago.A state of gratitude engenders a feeling of happiness which leads to well being. As you said, in this state we take better care of ourselves increasing the health and well being and those around us become infected too.
If everyone could practice gratitude the world would be a much better place. And everyone, no matter how little or how much they have, has something to be grateful for.
Thank you for an interesting post.
You are most very welcome Linda, thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. Imagine if we were all grateful, all of the time, for everything we had, large or small. How many of the ‘bad’ feelings would just disappear, greed and envy, gone for good. It’s the stuff of dreams but that’s OK, I can dream with the best of them.
Grateful for your kind words.