As I prayed and thought about the post for today I wondered just how many ways, how many times can we write about being thankful? I thought I would start out with gratitude this week. What it is, and what it is not.
In researching the internet, you know the ever faithful “Google”. I find that there is a trend going around called “Positive Psychology.” I thought I would include some of what I found in this gratitude essay.
What is gratitude?
One article I found from Positive Psychology Program listed some definitions of gratitude that I thought may help us understand this elusive feeling. I know we all want the feel good, happy, pleasant feelings all the time and sometimes it seems they are so far away. So, let’s just see just how science today defines gratitude:
“if we acquire a good through exchange, effort or achievement, or by right, then we don’t typically feel gratitude. Gratitude is an emotion we feel in response to receiving something good which is undeserved” (Lacewing, 2016).
I like this definition because it seems to match the Bible. God gives us what we do not deserve. All of us here on earth are sinful, we do not deserve the strength, the health, or even to be alive. We do not deserve the hope of heaven. We deserve hell if anything.
Another definition for this gratitude essay is:
“an emotion that is typically evoked when one receives costly, unexpected, and intentionally rendered benefits, and is thought to play a key role in regulating the initiation and maintenance of social relationships” (Forster et al., 2017).
What happens when someone gives you something or does something you never expected? Does that help you feel good for that person? I may be struggling with this a bit though. I tend to let history cloud my gratitude when someone who has hurt me does something nice.
I tend to use my marriage as an example a bit much lately. But it is what is on my mind all the time. I am trying to let God teach me to be the wife my husband deserves, and let God do the work He needs to do in my husband. But, here is an example of the past clouding my gratitude.
My personal experience for this gratitude essay
Just recently my husband bought me a coffee from a local coffee shop. Automatically my thoughts of the many times that he would insist on buying the expensive coffees when we are broke came to mind. The hurt, the fear of how we are going to make it.
What did not come to mind is all the times I expressed to him I needed more than just physical love from him. I needed to be appreciated, loved for who I am. I did not express gratitude that he thought of me, only me in buying that coffee. I let my hurt and pain stay and cloud my judgment.
That attitude did not help our relationship. My husband was making a grand gesture that he could do with our circumstances. I stopped myself I looked at him and said, “What I should say to you is thank you very much, I really appreciate that you thought of me.”
Final thoughts for this gratitude essay
You see, it is so easy to lose sight of being thankful. Even when a person is trying their hardest to do something nice. Something to say I know you are hurting let me do this to try to make up for it. Yes, ok a bought coffee will not make up for everything. But it is a step. I need to make a step in learning to be grateful instead of letting the past hold us back.
What about you? Do you have trouble expressing gratitude when someone you are upset with does something nice? Please share your ideas with us! Would love to have you join our community and join the discussion in our Thankful Thursday group!