The Discipline of Gratitude

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Various, Viewpoint

 

Photo on beliefnet.com
 
 
 
We have all heard the adage that states, “We need an attitude of gratitude.” I am realizing that having a grateful heart does not come easily. Simply, it is not natural. In fact, it is something that has to be trained in a person. No one is born with a grateful heart. We are depraved human beings, therefore we would rather be complainers and selfish, than live with thankfulness.

Over the years, I have observed that people who have this “attitude of gratitude” display certain traits that are consistent in their character:

1) They are glad people. There is just something about them that exudes joy. They are happier than the ordinary person. Their joy is contagious and makes you wonder why you are not as joyful. It is really fun being around them. There is usually a lot of laughter.

2) They are generous people. I have not met one thankful person that was not generous. They know the blessings that they have received from God and they just want to reciprocate it others.

3) They are gracious people. They understand that they don’t deserve anything, especially God’s grace; therefore, they are abundant in giving grace to others. They are humble. They are forgiving. They are simply, big-hearted and make room in their hearts for people.

4) They are great people. They stand head-and-shoulders above everyone in a room. They command people’s attention. They make everyone think, “Man, I wish I had that person’s attitude and perspective on life!” After a short conversation with them, you always leave feeling better about yourself.

 
 
So if an “attitude of gratitude” is something that has to be trained in a person, how does a person go about obtaining it? Well, here are some things that I am trying to work on because everything inside of me wants to complain, argue and be selfish:

1) Count your blessings. Try to find at least two things to be grateful for throughout the day. As you note your blessings, you will be reminded of how much you have to be thankful for. Remember: this is a discipline, therefore it will require constant reminders. Try putting it in your phone as an item to do with a loud alarm reminder.

2) Consider your life. It always helps to think about what your life would have been if God didn’t bless you. It is the classic: look at the cup half-full rather than half-empty. When we discipline our minds to think about how our lives or our situations could have been worst without God, we begin to grow in gratitude.

3) Commit to blessing others. The less we think about ourselves, the easier it will be to look outward. It is amazing to see how blessing others can transform our hearts. Find little ways to bless people throughout the day. It can be as simple as buying someone a cup of coffee. As we see people getting blessed, we get blessed in return.

4) Call on a friend for accountability. Good friends can see things that you cannot see especially, when your guards are down. They can help spot a bad attitude. The best accountability for me is my family. They see me in public as well as in private. Whenever I fail in my “attitude of gratitude,” everyone in my family, especially my children call me out on it. We have been trying to develop a championship attitude in the Kim family.

 
 
I am trying to commit to this discipline of gratitude and hoping that I will become a better person because of it.
 
 

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others.”

[Marcus Tulius Cicero]

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