WHY WE NEED GRATITUDE – and how to grow more.

WHY WE NEED GRATITUDE – and how to grow more.

 Why we feel gratitude thanks to Canva
Gratitude thanks to Canva

FINDING GRATITUDE

In order to be grateful, and how to grow gratitude is more difficult when one is deprived of essential needs as a child affecting our belief system and sense of acceptance. This blog shows how I altered those misconceptions and started a new thought process.

“Deprived thinking turns good things into less or nothing. Grateful thinking turns things into more”.

Melody Beattie

Do you get upset when people tell you that the solution to your problem is not enough gratitude?  I am grateful when things are going well; however, when life is going through those dark patches, it’s not as easy for me to feel gratitude.  

What is Gratitude – According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word gratitude means “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” The word appreciation is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.”

Where to begin

When I decided on doing the alphabet for Lovingly Live Life, gratitude was not on the list as I felt I wanted a deeper purpose, something that was out of the ordinary that stood out: something that worked above and beyond all things tried and tested.  Appreciation also fitted into my thought processes as part of gratitude.

The reason I did not want to use gratitude was that I found, when I was down, it was tough to be grateful.  You know the story, “I cried because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.” Mahatma Gandhi.  This is true when you are in the right place to see it; however, the poem used to bother me because I felt people were saying, help others, and then you will heal.  I could not do that; until I arrived at an understanding of why, which was when I read a book by Melody Beattie called Beyond Co-dependency. https://melodybeattie.com/

WHY WE STRUGGLE WITH GRATITUDE

The patio
Gratitude – my favourite place

Deprived to Deserving – Melody Beattie

I was sitting on my patio one sunny Sunday morning reading my book when I suddenly sat up and took note.  It was in Chapter 11 – “From Deprived to Deserving”; the first sentence struck a chord when she spoke about deprived children.  For me, what immediately popped into mind was a child in rags with no shoes  scratching in a bin looking for food, which is obviously true, however, and as well as, she said deprivation is when parents are so wrapped up in their problems and pain; so deprived themselves, they cannot give their children  what they needed.

There are many forms of deprivation a child could go through, such as deprivation of good feelings or even material needs.

Deprivation starts in childhood

Melody started questioning herself: questions I have asked myself without receiving answers like; “what’s fun; how do we form an opinion; and what’s the good stuff in life?  Is there any good and how much is available to me?”  She spoke about what life feels like when you feel deprived: if life were a department store where; the main floor is displaying stuff we cannot label because we have never seen it; or the bargain basement, the room where the hand-me-downs reside.  I felt I shopped in the basement.

DEPRIVATION THINKING

Melody also says deprivation carried into adulthood creates deprivation thinking, thinking that there is not enough for us, causing us to hold on tightly to things, whether they are suitable for us or not, becoming resentful and jealous of people who have enough.  We may hoard, she says, fearing we could use it up, settle for less, or feel fearful even when we are not.

Our belief system indicates that we do not deserve the good things happening to us and all this does is prevent us from seeing the good in life.  I looked up from my book, and suddenly saw the flowers blooming in the garden, the pool glimmering in the sunlight, for the first time I felt a stirring deep within.  OH, no! was I one of those people who only saw the negative.  It is painful to walk through life believing that you are not good enough and undeserving of what life has to offer, and so, therefore, instead of feeling grateful for what I had, I felt deprived.

My lovely Geraniums
My favourite geraniums

She maintains that deprived thinking turns good things into less or nothing, however, grateful thoughts turn things into more.  I was all ears, listening as though I had never heard this statement in my life: I had, but the impact had not penetrated my deprived soul. 

HOW TO BECOME GRATEFUL

My mission became a journey towards gratefulness, and I started doing what many wise people said to do – try to feel gratitude for everything – for starters; begin somewhere, feel grateful for only one thing perhaps.  Like the Nike ad; “just do it”, I started first thing in the morning, finding three things to be thankful for, and then that evening looked at what I was grateful for during that day.

Acknowledge what you do have

 Acknowledging what I did have, rather than what I did not have, as Melody says, was the trick to start being grateful, however, first be grateful – before we get anything – not afterwards, however, you need to believe you deserve the best life has to offer. 

Being able to feel you deserve the best was also the tricky part, and I had to refresh my mind remembering that I needed to allow myself the privilege of feeling deserving and change my thinking for the first step to occur, .http://lovinglylivelife.com/2019/03/27/am-i-allowing-myself-a-life-worth-living-a-personal-growth-journey/ and believe that I do deserve what I have.

Use correct thinking patterns

My first source came from a little book, which only has 27 pages; the book is called ‘As a Man Thinketh’ by James Allen and he says, I quote: “man is the master of thought, the moulder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny.”  THE COMPLETE WORKS OF JAMES ALLEN – bahaistudies.net. http://www.bahaistudies.net/asma/James_Allen.pdf

The gratitude principal

Melody calls this the gratitude principal as the more grateful you are, the more positive energies you attract.  Intermountainhealthcare.org says that research shows that gratitude improves a person’s wellbeing allowing for higher levels of optimism, more frequent happy moods and a higher sense of belonging. The Link Between Gratitude and Wellness. https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/topics/live-well/2013/11/the-link-between-gratitude-and-wellness/ 

The excitement; suddenly feeling released from a deprived childhood and heading into a freer future, brings appreciation, thank you Melody, for freeing me from deprivation and introducing me to gratitude. 

Three tips on gratitude

  • Remember to realise you deserve good things to happen to you.
  • Also remember to feel gratitude before you receive.
  • Finally Remember to remember to be grateful.

GRATITUDE FOR OTHER PEOPLE

I read an article written by Joshua Becker, the author of Becomingminimalist and these 3 points stood out for me about gratitude.    https://www.becomingminimalist.com/about-us/

  1. Gratitude provides a beneficial understanding of our place in the world.  We are expressing thankfulness for the actions of others that are useful to us, therefore we require humility; receiving something we did not deserve.
  2. Giving worth to those who deserve it.
  3. Gratitude helps us focus on what we already have, rather than what we do not.

THOSE SPECIAL PEOPLE

 All who have gone before us
Nature and its beauty

I think of great people when I think of being grateful for other people who have done so much for our combined humanity.  Recently I was exposed to just such a person; David Attenborough’s documentary on Climate Change the Facts.  https://www.bbc.com/timelines/zpstwxs This man has contributed so much to humanity about the natural world, and now, the struggling it faces. 

 Of course, I then have to mention my son, who is a nature conservationist and has a blog solely introducing others to the plight of the environment to make us aware of the environmental struggles we have forced upon our planet.https://conservationcaptured.com/

I think of the medical field; doctors and nurses, paramedics: saving lives, healing, working long hours and putting others before themselves.

What about musicians, artists, poets and the creative world, for, without them, my soul would be barren.

Great scientists, physicists, geologists and philosophers, teach me about the world I live in and how it functions. 

Where would we be without the other, and so I am so grateful for those who have gone before me, those who walk alongside me and those who will come after me and hopefully continue creating a life worth living.

MY STORY

The ideal holiday destination

Gratitude - Mauritius
My Ideal holiday destination

Many years ago, I was whisked off to Mozambique by my husband who was scuba diving at the time; it was in a remote area with no hot water, electricity etc and to cap it all, he had described the beach as the perfect holiday destination, flat mirror seas, unspoilt beaches; the sun filtering through the leaves of the trees.

I could see the coconut palms swaying in the gentle breeze as I lay capturing the rays of the sun producing a glistening sun tanned ….  sound like paradise to you,  it certainly did to me.    We arrived, however, at the tail end of a cyclone, freezing temperatures, pouring rain, and lightning that was about to strike our little silver hub tents, (yes did I mention we were in tents).

The hot water debacle

 There was no hot water; however, thankfully, there was a shower area.   We needed to fill a ‘portable plastic bag shower’, lay it in the sun for the day, and then use it that night.  Now we only had one, and there was not a lot of water in that bag, so two little ones and myself all had to have a quick shower under this dripping bag of lukewarm water; once the sun came out to warm the water up, of course.    It was no joke!

 I have read how people laze in hot baths, filled to the brim, now and then using their feet to turn the tap on, to replenish the lukewarm water as it cooled; reading a book for hours.  This past time was alien to me and I could never quite understand it; until the day I could not have a hot bath or shower.   Hot water baths became precious to me, and I have since that day continued to be grateful for the feeling of hot water on my skin.  

I am not only grateful for hot water, but for water, clean water; water for my plants, washing clothing and drinking. Gratitude has a knock on effect; so helpful when one is starting out on the gratitude journey.

Finding the answers.

The realisation that I had to capture this feeling when I read Melody Beattie’s chapter on Deprived to Deserving was immense, however, the gratitude principle is still tricky for me to grasp.  I practice gratitude until something happens to my well-being bubble and then it evaporates as quickly as it arrived. 

Another practice I have enjoyed instilling into my life: understanding how significant gratitude has become for me, is the reason I have included it in my Alphabet of creating a life worth living.   A life without gratitude becomes a life without substance for me, and I want to work very hard at remaining grateful, to achieve all the benefits it has to offer.

GOD ON GRATITUDE

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

1 Chronicles 16 NIV version.

Being a Christian does not always make life easier

I have been a Christian for a very long time and have loved learning about God, deciphering the bible and practicing the disciplines of Christ.   This has by no means fixed me up nor have I become anywhere near where I want to be, although I have done several courses, studies and belonged to cell groups, in fact, I ran a cell group for many years, I still falter along the way.

 I sometimes forget that God is good, that  I can trust Him and place all my fears at His feet. Sometimes I forget what the significance of the death of Christ on the Cross really means to me and I have to once again reach deep down into my soul, remembering with gratitude, the sacrifices made for me.

God’s Power

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16

I did a course with Trevor Hudson and this letter was part of the lesson on how much God loves us enabling me to understand exactly what I have in Christ.

You are my beloved child in whom I delight: you did not choose me but I chose you and you are my friend.

I formed your inward parts and knitted you together in your mother’s womb; you are fearfully and wonderfully made, made a little lower than the angels, and crowned with glory and honour: you have been created in Christ Jesus for good works which I have already prepared to be your way of life.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned and the flame shall not consume you.

You are precious in my sight; and honoured, and I love you; I know all your longings; your sighing is not hidden from me. Nothing will ever be able to separate you from my love in Christ Jesus your Lord.

Abide in My love.

God – snippets from the bible

Taking gratitude seriously

Today’s blog was a reminder to me once again that gratitude is a significant part of creating a life worth living. It forms a large part of becoming joyful, having a sense of well being and living on a frequency of feeling good about yourself and others.

Next week I look at healthy living. Yes, it sounds boring, but let me assure you, I always have a different slant at looking at life. See you then. And be sure to write your comments below. I love hearing from you. What is your slant on gratitude? Let me know. Have an awesome month.

REFERENCES

Allen. J. 2007. As a Man Thinketh. Dover Publications, inc, Mineola, New York.

Beattie. M. 1992. Codependent No More, How to stop controlling others and start caring for yourself. Hazelden Publishing Center City, Minnesota.

Trevor Hudson. Author. Minister.


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