Having gratitude is one of the most significant parts of life. Without it, you’ll lead a life feeling unfulfilled, alone, and yearning for more. With it, you’re destined for much more.
It helps when you always try to be kind to those around you. More specifically, you should be whether someone does anything for you or not. Sadly, these days, most people’s thankfulness or ability to show gratitude is contingent upon how someone treats them. Yes, we should all strive to live by the golden rule, treat others as you would like to be treated. But it shouldn’t be the beginning and the end of how we act towards others.
Think about it. If someone was only ever helpful to you when you treated them well, how often would you be treated kindly? For me, it surely wouldn’t be as often as I’d like. It’s an aspect of life I’ve learned so much about from my parents. There were plenty of times when I was younger that my Mom or Dad was pissed at me, but still went out of their way to do something for me. My Mom and I would get into an argument, but she would still make me a delicious dinner, despite my bad behavior. My Dad and I would bicker, but he would still take me to the gym so I could play basketball because he knew I loved it.
Generosity goes a long way. In those moments, my parents were infuriated with me, could have treated me worse, and left me feeling lonely. But they chose the higher route and didn’t let my actions dictate their actions towards me. I mean, if everyone always did that, the world would be a horrible place. On the contrary, if we all were more thankful and didn’t always let the treatment of us change how we respond and behave towards others, the world would be a better place.
It’s not to say that if you are mistreated, or something is unjust, you shouldn’t speak up, because you always should. It’s to say, I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the absolute kindness and gracious hearts of my parents. They often punished me for my mistakes, but other times, they showed me compassion and love by taking care of me when I gave them every reason not to. One might say it’s because they’re your parents, and that’s a love only parents can provide. But I believe we all have it in us to treat others the same way.
The most dangerous aspect of letting our treatment of others become predicated by how they treat us is losing ourselves in the process. You always want to remain yourself. I have the utmost respect and admiration for people who always stay true to themselves. In a world where people are continually trying to be like others, remaining true to yourself has become somewhat of a lost art.
How you look at, talk to, and ultimately treat others can quickly become make or break situation. If you tell someone in your class at school they talk too much, have you actually thought about why they are doing that? Maybe the person gets drowned out at home, and school is the only place where they feel their voice is heard. Perhaps you gave someone a dirty look at your job because they wear old shoes with holes in them. Little do you know, they use the limited amount of money they make to take care of their ill parents and can’t afford newer ones.
Gratitude is often about awareness. A supreme awareness and understanding of those around you. Not just the things you can see, either. Because sometimes, we don’t know if people are okay. Things may seem fine on the surface, but dig a little deeper, and someone close to you might truly be going through a hard time. So how will they feel when you compound their current problem with more criticism after you bring up they’ve been mistreating you? Not too well.
You want to be a positive light in others’ lives. Of course, you must always protect your heart and mind, but you can do so by still being kind and showing gratitude towards those you care about, and even those you don’t because you can change someone’s entire day just by doing so. A simple thank you can go a long way. People appreciate the thoughtfulness.
As humans, we thrive off of feedback from others, some of us, more than others. You never know what someone is going through. Therefore, it’s always best to embody graciousness and show gratitude. I surely need to do a better job of always having gratitude, and not just when things are going well. I know I’ll be happier because of it. I am so very thankful my parents taught me such an invaluable lesson and encourage you to put gratitude at the forefront of you and your child’s life.