Life is filled with irony.
As the talent development specialist for my company, I contribute regularly to our internal company newsletter.
At the beginning of 2017, I spent time contemplating helpful, thought-provoking, and challenging topics to help inspire our team members to strive for their individual and our collective best.
GRATITUDE was one of those topics.
Ironically, writing about gratitude makes us more keenly aware of how we take things for granted.
What is Gratitude?
Gratitude is a big part of the approaching holiday season; a time when people outwardly express appreciation, thankfulness, and gratitude as opposed to a consumer-driven emphasis on what one wants.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
For a deeper dive into the definition of gratitude click here and here.
Life Events and Gratitude
Life events like:
- The deaths of loved ones
- Personal or family medical issues
- Purchasing a new home
- Births in the family
- Relocating and uprooting your family
- Leaving one company to work for another
…and so many other things like these teach us about loss, gain and contentment. All three contribute to the act of gratitude.
Without loss, we take the good stuff for granted. Being content with loss helps us be appreciative of even little things (the good stuff).
Hindrances to Gratitude
What keeps us from sticking with a practice of daily gratitude? What breeds ingratitude?
Evagrius Ponticus, a Christian monk and one of the most influential theologians in the late fourth-century was well known as a thinker, polished speaker and gifted writer said, pride is “A tumor of the soul, when it ripens and ruptures, it creates a disgusting mess.”
Dr. Tony Ferretti writes, “Unfortunately, our self-centered society and overindulgent culture contributes to our ungrateful nature. Others would say that pride is a major deterrent to gratefulness…pride prevents us from recognizing the value of others. Instead, we believe we deserve the good things we receive…”
“Pride” carries many connotations, but let’s keep it simple. Pride is self-focused energy that keeps us from being considerate.
And it manifests daily in our lives.
The opposite of pride is humility.
It takes humility to live knowing we do not have control of everything. We find contentment in losses and the good stuff knowing we cannot control it all.
Have You Demonstrated Gratitude this Year?
Let’s share our stories of gratitude from 2017.
Using the hashtag #GratitudeChallenge post your stories, comments, and pictures on your LinkedIn profile.
Your story may inspire someone across the globe.
We know what gratitude is.
We know we ought to be grateful but pride is the reason we aren’t.
The type of pride that fools us into believing we control every-single-thing-in-our-lives.
Pride that convinces us that the rat race is more valuable than the human race. An illusion that, if we aren’t careful, tricks us into mistreating our bodies, families, and fellow man.
Expressing gratitude and doing so as a practice does not have to be a drawn-out exercise. Really, it’s simply showing your genuine appreciation and thankfulness.
I’m grateful that you took the time to read this article.
I wish you and your family peace and happiness this holiday season.