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Marriage and Family

Understanding Gratitude

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11/01/2010 - With Thanksgiving on the horizon, I thought it only appropriate to write something about gratitude. I had to think for a while because I didn't want to do another typical article stating we need to be grateful and stressing the importance of doing so. With that in mind, here are a few points which describe what gratefulness is and is not.


• IS NOT: A personality type that it should come naturally, without effort.

IS: An attitude of the heart which, like a muscle, must be developed, trained and exercised regularly.

• IS NOT: A single, special moment that we practice during the occasional, or annual, celebration.

IS: A continuously active effort which helps us identify our own blessings, even in moments of adversity.

• IS NOT: Merely an act of service for other people to make them feel good about themselves

IS: A way to express your own love and compassion to others, even in moments of discord.

• IS NOT: A reward to offer others when they perform up to our own expectations.

IS: A gift freely given out of love, even when we are disappointed.

• IS NOT: A tool to manipulate our way into others' good graces to achieve our own desires.

IS: A way to help keep yourself acting in integrity, despite circumstances.

• IS NOT: A "quick fix" to problems, suffering or disagreement.

IS: A way to keep our own minds from drowning under the weight of life's storms.

• IS NOT: A holiday decoration to be brought out as an accessory to the season.

IS: A quality in life which, like water, needs to be used daily.

Though these few aspects do not fully encompass the definition of gratitude or all its aspects and benefits, keep them in mind as we head into this holiday season. Most of all, let us not shelve our gratitude when the season is over, only to dust off for use again in another year. Happy Thanksgiving!

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