Gratitude is a graceful way to receive something. We express it not for the sake of courtesy alone but to acknowledge the gesture of giving and the intention behind it. We wish to underline and appreciate an act we consider noble.
Saying “thank you” is our response to accepting something with an open heart and returning it with intangible gifts of humility and regard. It keeps the pleasantries going and infuses the atmosphere with a light, happy and loving energy. Provided we mean them, the two words, when clubbed with a genuine smile, beautify our bonds and add colour to our life – hence the practice of giving back through gratitude is part of all cultures.
Gratitude has many expressions. When we are indebted to someone in a good way, we are more likely to listen to them, adjust with them, be kind to them, and ignore their weaknesses in view of their larger contribution. We do not struggle to stand by them, rather we feel ever ready to promote their aspirations. So, listening, adjusting, being patient with others and wishing them well are a few of the many ways to recognise and respond to their goodness. Of course, we are not bound to limit these only as return gestures and can use them as frequently as we want to strengthen our relationships.
How can we use a similar mantra to deepen our bond with ourselves? Having gratitude for the self means to be appreciative of who we truly are. We can do so by regularly retreating within to understand who we are originally, deep down, valuing our inherent purity and channelling it in our creations, listening to our innermost calling and taking pride in realising it. Such a close connection with the self gives life to what is best inside us. It anchors us in a point of spiritual self-respect that is not dependent on external validation.
We can give ourselves greater flight by cultivating the habit of counting our blessings. Today, many of us feel low not because we do not have enough but because what we have becomes invisible to us too soon, even remains underutilised, and what we missed out on or is taken away from us occupies our mind space and consumes us.
Counting our blessings means to be aware of our unique fortune and to hold on to that consciousness. Everything from the gift of a safe life, sound mind and body, family and friends, bounties of the natural world to the special privileges we enjoy, such as education and wealth, our individual talents and virtues are our blessings. We can choose to be happy by reminding ourselves of them and engaging with them positively.
Our greatest blessing is that we belong to the Creator – the Almighty Authority of the Universe – and have inherited His qualities and benevolence. Though bestowed upon us all, this blessing manifests itself in the lives of those who make it their own by believing in it. The pure intoxication of being His fortunate child is truly empowering and can be life changing. The more we live in the consciousness of this elevated fortune, the more fortunate we become.
Staying humbly happy about ‘who we are’, ‘who we belong to’ and ‘what we have’ rewards us with a sense of contentment, which then becomes the basis of our world view. Our choices are then no longer driven by fear, desperation, or wanting to prove or accumulate, but gravitate towards contributing to life and celebrating it. The highest reward of cultivating a vision of gratitude is that it transforms us from constant seekers to natural givers.