Sometimes it can be hard to feel gratitude. It can be extremely difficult to feel gracious about life and all it has given you when you are in the midst of a time where a whole lot seems to have been taken away.
Having a sense of gratitude does not mean having a "Pollyanna", "la-di-da" attitude when faced with loss or disappointment. It doesn't mean that we feel less, in fact, we may even feel more as we move along a path of self-development. But, more and more research is showing that people who choose to stay rooted in a sense of gratitude about what they do have, are more focused, optimistic...dare I say, happy? This is a positive direction for Western psychological thought; consider the following quote:
"Psychology has generally ignored the positive emotions," says Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis, a psychologist and leading figure in the new field of gratitude research. "We tend to study the things that can go wrong in people's minds but not the things that can go right. Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress, and to achieve a positive sense of the self."
Emmons goes on to say that one reason why men and women in modern society may not have integrated gratitude into their lives, is a sense of self-reliance. The feeling that it is important to rely on oneself, and weather the storms of life alone. He maintains that many modern men and women maybe hesitant to acknowledge, with gratitude or in other ways, the help they have received from others.
Good food for thought, and inquiry.
So, get up tomorrow and hug someone that has helped you in your life. Give them a call, or send an email if they are far away. Let them know the depth of gratitude you have for what they have given. Give your heart a reason to soar. The knowledge that you are not in this alone.