What is a Gratitude Attitude?
“I’ve got a gratitude attitude,” the kids sang in their joyful voices this week on Grandparents Day. And the emails arriving in my inbox on this Thanksgiving Day encourage an attitude of gratitude. Some religious, some touting its emotional benefits. My friend who died of cancer back when I was on Facebook posted every day at least one expression of gratitude. When I read them, my own attitude shifted. But do I actually have a gratitude attitude?
More often, when I express what could be heard as gratitude, I’m really saying , “It could be worse.” I look at some minor destruction, and I literally say, “It could be worse.” That’s trying to “look on the bright side,” or seeking the silver lining in the cloud of misery, but I don’t think it’s gratitude.
Or my expressions fall into the “there but for the grace of God go I.” When disaster has befallen someone, and I am fully aware I’ve lived my life in a way such that it could have been me, I express…something, but not gratitude. More like a charm waved to ward off evil. That is not gratitude.
Often, my expression falls into the knee-jerk denial category. I am complaining about something, and I hear how petty I sound. So I say, “I shouldn’t complain.” No, I shouldn’t, but that’s not gratitude, either.
Gratitude is when my heart fills with amazement at what is present in my life. Gifts given, and I’m totally aware of the gift. And gift it is. Not something I’ve earned or deserved or created or improved. Simply the joy of life. Life itself. Me, in life. Life all around me waiting to be praised if I could only hold onto my gratitude attitude.