Living In Gratitude
But … Are You Aiming For The Right Kind Of Gratitude Attitude?
A warning about gratitude!
Beware, living in gratitude can be as bad as it can be good. It all depends on which kind of gratitude attitude you have. Be sure you align with the good one.
Living in gratitude - in other words living by what is referred to as the law of gratitude - can mean different things to different people, depending on one's background and experiences in life. And it can carry with it either good or not-so-good feelings. The kind of gratitude that the self-improvement gurus are recommending is obviously the good-feeling kind. This is the kind that is connected with a positive kind of gratitude attitude.
The not-so-good kind of gratitude
Living in gratitude with a feeling of indebtedness or subservience to someone is definitely not the kind that supports the growth of happiness. This is emotional imprisonment. It is demeaning and not at all healthy. This is not true gratitude.
This first kind is tinged with fear of loss, feelings of inferiority and a sense of being beholden to someone else for what they have made possible for you, and so on. It carries with it the feelings of being a victim in life, and being dependent on others for one's wellbeing.
No, this is not the kind of so-called living in gratitude we should want.
The good kind of gratitude
The 'good' gratitude is quite different. It has a very positive feeling about it. It is not contrived, but rather a spontaneous bursting forth from inside oneself of a positive energy of real appreciation.
It is accompanied by feelings of joy, love and positive energy. If it involves another person, the feeling is often shown physically by a reaching out and wanting to hug the other. It is a joyful experience for both parties.
And if it is a feeling of gratitude yet with no other individual involved, it is still a good feeling, and it is usually accompanied by a desire to be thankful anyway. This is where many people direct their thankfulness and gratitude towards life itself, or to the unseen creative power, to God.
With this kind of 'good gratitude', living in gratitude is a wonderful way to live, because it is experienced as living in joy.
Gratitude = Appreciation
As we have seen (previous page), gratitude and appreciation have pretty much one and the same energy. So if you don't really relate to the idea of always, living in gratitude, then there is an alternative approach that may be more appropriate for you.
Try appreciating things and situations every day. And to make it even easier, initially take out the human factor and start appreciating things that you truly do like. Then let the feelings develop from there.
How to develop the feelings of appreciation
As I've said elsewhere, if there is a feeling you would like to have but just seem unable to access it (e.g. gratitude, loving your neighbour), then it is often much easier to behave yourself into such an attitude or feeling and o do so from a different angle. (See how habits of kindness can blossom into feelings of kindness and even into real feelings of genuine caring and love.) http://www.unlock-your-happiness.com/meaning-of-kindness.html
So, when it comes to living in gratitude, it can be easier to start from a different angle and to form habits of appreciation instead. It is even easier and more effective if the appreciation is a genuine feeling when you use this approach.
The intention here is to create a new habit in your life that will generate energy within you that will facilitate the flow of more happiness from within. And the quality of the feeling you will experience through appreciation will be essentially the same as that of gratitude. Here's the simple and easy Appreciation Plan.
Try this Appreciation Plan
- Set aside some time every day to consciously and deliberately think of things and situations that you already really do appreciate; and then appreciate them there and then - fully.
- If the object of your appreciation is a small item, wherever possible hold that item in your hand during this exercise. If it's a motor car or motorbike, be with it during this exercise.
A practical example will clarify
On the next page I'll give you a real-life example that I have used myself, so that you can see how simple this really is. I'll then comment on what is actually happening when we consciously engage in this kind of appreciation plan.
Next >> Page 4
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