The surest index of your spiritual and emotional well-being is the degree of gratitude in your life. Where does gratitude come from, and how can we grow in gratefulness?
Grateful people linger over life’s blessings
The English word “thank” shares the same root as “think.” Thankfulness is intimately connected to thoughtfulness. We can’t be grateful without being mindful of the many benefits we enjoy in life and conscious of the rich blessings we have been given. Grateful people take time to rejoice, which literally means to experience repeated joy through the remembrance of the grace and goodness one has received.
Grateful people live in the moment
Destination disease causes a person to always search for happiness somewhere in the future. When I graduate, when I meet my soulmate, when I pay off the mortgage, when I get the promotion, when I retire…then I’ll be happy! The prime symptom of destination disease is discontentment. Those infected by it postpone joy until some distant occasion that may never even transpire.
Robert J. Hastings offers apt advice on making the most of today. “Sooner or later we must realize there is no [ideal destination], no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life outdistances us. So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, and cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. ‘Relish the moment’ is a good motto.”
Grateful people leave fear behind
Fear isn’t an emotion we can eradicate; it’s impossible to eliminate it once and for all. The key is not to repress fear but to cultivate and express positive emotions that outweigh it. To the extent we allow faith, hope, and love into our hearts, we overwhelm fear and overcome its discouraging influence.
Grateful people live on purpose
Many people spend their lives climbing the ladder only to reach the top and realize that the ladder is leaning against the wrong building! Knowing your purpose enables you to find meaning in the mundane activities of life. A keen sense of purpose also keeps you going during the difficult days by supplying the passion to press forward. Finally, living purposefully allows you to be disciplined with your time by helping you to invest it in relationships and endeavors that have lasting value.
Grateful people love those beside them
People who say it’s lonely at the top have a tragically misguided view of leadership. Sadly, many people do make it to the peak of their profession, but only at the expense of their marriage, family, or friendships. Every definition of success that focuses solely on oneself is a sham. To live for others is to reach the pinnacle of life.