Gratitude is one of the finest expressions of positive living. There is eternal spring in the grateful heart. Nothing brightens life — our own and others’ — so much as the spirit of thanksgiving. It is a basic human emotion rooted in ethics and values which make us better human beings. Shakespeare composed a complex cosmic tragedy on human relationships in King Lear on the filial ingratitude of the two daughters of the old king. This masterpiece of a tragedy has become an archetypal image for human ingratitude and cruelty.
The essence of gratitude
Gratitude is the art of receiving gracefully, of expressing appreciation for every kindness, great and small. It is, above all, in little things that the grace of gratitude should be most employed. The newspaper boy, the milkman, the postman, the waiter at a restaurant, the lift operator — all oblige us in one way or another. Gratitude makes dull, routine relationships cordial and renders monotonous tasks human and agreeable. A ‘thank you note’ that you receive can brighten your face and enthuse your heart for the whole day. Gratitude can build a bond even with a stranger. Love and gratitude will dissolve all negativity in our lives, no matter what form it has taken. Love and gratitude can part seas, move mountains, and create miracles.
A thankful heart concentrates on the positive things in life and it is a fountain of blessings. If someone were to give us a dish of sand, and tell us that there were iron particles hidden in it, we would not be able to detect them with our naked eyes. But suppose we took a magnet and swept through it, the invisible iron particles would cling to the magnet. Similarly, the grateful heart, like the magnet finds the iron particles, finds blessings and benedictions everywhere. Every day we find plenty of situations in which thanks can be given. You can thank even total strangers with a smile, a grateful glance in jostling street crowds, in running trains, at the market place, in a shopping mall, in the quiet of a prayer service, anywhere at all if you feel a sense of gratitude.
Prof Dr. John Mathews is a professor of English Literature and Philosophy. A motivational speaker and columnist, he is the author of The Wisdom & Power of Positive Living and An Encyclopaedic Treasury Of Positive Thoughts For Effective And Creative Living.