Gratitude is a feeling of thankfulness that we have when we acknowledge how someone or something has helped us and made our life better whether in a big way or a small way.
Most of the time we might only notice when somebody helps us with a BIG problem that is causing us a lot of worry or inconvenience or trouble. Imagine, for example, that you are in a broken down car on a dark lonely road in the middle of nowhere. When you see the flashing lights of the recovery vehicle you feel a massive sense of relieve and – 10 minutes later – you have enormous gratitude for the mechanic who’s got your car working again. You just can’t thank him enough!
However it is just as important to have gratitude for all of the smaller acts of help, generosity and kindness that we experience every day. For example the things that our parents or guardians routinely do for us that easily go unnoticed like cooking, cleaning and tidying ….. or doing a hard days work to help pay the bills. Or maybe you have a kind relative or neighbour who is always happy to help you out when things go wrong. Or maybe there’s a teacher or helper at school who is always trying hard to make sure that you get a good education so that you can have a happy and fulfilled life. We can have gratitude for everything that these people have done for us – and continue to do for us – on a daily basis.
Of course you should never approach strangers or talk to strangers but it is worthwhile spending some time looking around you and spotting all the people that we can have gratitude for because they help us, help others, help the neighbourhood or even help the planet. How about the person who picks up litter to keep our streets neat and tidy? …. Or the lorry driver who transports all the things that we need? …. Or somebody who works in a shop until late at night so that we can buy things whenever we need them? Now you might be tempted to say “But that’s their job! That’s what they get paid to do!” but that would be ignoring all of the personal effort, care, sacrifice and inconvenience that those people contribute and tolerate to make our lives better.
It is not just the actions of other people that we can be grateful for. For example, do you ever stop to think how fortunate you are to be able to just turn on a tap and enjoy clean safe drinking water? ….. Or to be able to flick a switch and have heat and light? ….. Or walk into a grocery store and have the choice of so many nutritious and healthy foods? These are all privileges that we can easily take for granted but should be very grateful for.
Having gratitude helps us to properly appreciate everything that we have and everything that is done for us. By understanding the value of this – and what our life would be like otherwise – we are more likely to have respect for others and a feeling of contentment with our own life; a feeling of contentment that should help us to focus on how much we have in our lives rather than how little.
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