Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Gratitude Pt II

Having covered a few elements on gratitude back in April, I thought I’d write something new coming from a different perspective.

Over the summer, it was brought to my attention that it’s important to show gratitude not just for what we already have in life, but also for the things we acquire. The philosophy behind this is that only once we learn to be thankful and respectful for that which we gain, can we expect to gain more of the same.

Money is a typical example: on a professional level it can be great to pick up a pay rise, a bonus or some extra commission. On the surface these are all great benefits - naturally dependant on any knock-on effect from additional work commitments - but if everything works out well then we should be grateful for them. On a personal level it can be equally great to have an overdraft increased, a loan accepted, or to be lent a few extra pounds by a best friend when we really need it. Once again it’s for us to decide if its appropriate - especially if it encourage us to spend money unnecessarily and perhaps get futher into debt (another topic altogether) - but we should still be grateful. If they’re not right for us, then we must decline the offer.

Furthermore, we should express gratitude for all the other little bonuses that come our way, e.g. discounts on food, household items, cars, holidays, temporary loan rates, etc. And if someone buys us a gift, e.g. a “moving in” present, be grateful too. Imagine these as examples: your car breaks down and the cheapest estimate comes in at £500 - unimpressed, you speak to some friends and one of them refers a mechanic to you who gets the job done for half the cost; you move home without any furniture and a friend offers you a pair of sofas in excellent condition for £50 because they’re having them replaced; a friend suddenly pays back the £100 she borrowed from you a year ago when you’d given up on it knowing how much she was struggling financially. All of these outcomes deserve some degree of thanks because they’re each providing you with a benefit of some kind. That’s not to say that money is the “be all and end all” of everything - far from it - but it sures helps to save some especially when you need it most. Speaking of which, such savings could be used more positively and more beneficially elsewhere, couldn’t they? Let’s say you’ve saved £250 on having your car repaired, and feel so relieved by it that you take your partner out for that meal you’d been promising for weeks! Or you take that £100 from your friend and put it towards the cost a training course you’d been saving up for.

Another thing - as mentioned in the original Gratitude post, it’s sometimes appropriate for us to show gratitude to the person/organisation concerned in the form of words, a letter, an email, a text, etc. Other times it may be better for us to simply offer thanks to the universe. By doing this, we’re strengthening our respect, both for ourself and for life in general.

Gratitude is such a huge topic that other aspects will be covered in the near future, e.g. gratitude for those little moments that “help us out” during the day, through to gratitude for challenging and overcoming obstacles in our life. But before moving that far ahead, take a look below …

INQUIRY: What is your definition of gratitude? How often do you express it, both inwardly and outwardly? What are the differences in how you feel?

ACTION: Every day for a month, make yourself aware of the incidences when you should be expressing gratitude. Note how you respond - do you express something or do you let the moment go by with barely a thought or care? Familiarise yourself with the feeling of gratitude, especially if you feel awkward expressing it. Build up your courage daily until it becomes a habit that you feel in rhythm with. How does it impact your respect, both for yourself and others? And what other transformations does it create in your inner self?

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