Monday, March 5, 2018

What is gratitude (in simple words)?

Question: Today everyone is talking about gratitude and there are many self-help books that talk about practising gratitude. So What is gratitude? Please explain in simple words. 

Answer: Gratitude is an emotion that overwhelms you when you realize you have been gifted or favored by something/someone outside of yourself. 

1. A gift or favour is something that was completely beyond your control and you had no role in its creation or happening, but it just happened

Explanation: If I bring you a glass of water, you will feel grateful to me because you know it was outside of you and beyond your control. I could have refused to bring you water or maybe spilled it all over your face in anger. So naturally, you will feel gifted or will realize that I have done you a favor by bringing you water. 
Another example: Availability of water alone should create the feeling of gratetitude in us as it is available in the world due to complex physical and natural laws that are certainly beyond our spiritual/physical capability or control. We, as humans, had no role in creating water. It was created by something outside of us - our Lord who creates everything. Imagine this gift (water) gone for two days straight and you will create an intense feeling of gratefulness overwhelming you right now. 

2. The feeling of gratitude occurs also when we realize that something bad that could have happened, didn't happen in reality. 

Explanation: Why would you feel intense gratitude when, let's say, a speeding truck nearly hits you and carshes into a sideroad? Here your mind quickly assess a negative outcome that a crash would create and when that possible negative outcome does not happen, you feel a huge sigh of relief (a gift from something outside of yourself - God) overwhelmes you and start feeling intense gratitude. 

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