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Gratitude is an essential key to a wonderful life.  Unfortunately, most people don’t understand that gratitude is what creates a better life. We want to have the wonderful life first, so we have something to be grateful for! You might think “I promise I’ll be grateful when I eventually have something to be grateful for.”

It is easy to slip into this trap.  The truth, however, is that precisely the opposite is true. Your decision to be grateful actually creates more experiences and things to be grateful for.

Gratitude is a choice.  It is a decision. Gratitude is not something that happens to you. If you are to be grateful, you must first decide to be grateful. Your toys, your spouse, your boss, your body, your environment are not the origin of gratitude– they do not make you grateful.  You must decide to be grateful.

Let me give you an example. You might think it would be impossible to find gratitude in a Nazi death camp.  Finding gratitude, however, was the very thing that helped people survive and even thrive in that environment. Corrie Ten Boom and her sister, Betsy, were placed in Ravensbruck, which was one of the worst German prison camps. Betsy and Corrie taught the world that we can be grateful for absolutely anything.  They were able to feel genuine gratitude for abusive guards, moldy bread, disease, extreme hardship, and even death.  They found a way to be grateful for everything—that is, everything except for the fleas in their crowded living quarters.  Their beds were infested with terrible fleas.  Even though for many weeks they could not find a reason to be grateful for the fleas, they decided to just choose to be grateful, so in their constant prayers they thanked God for all their many hardships—including the fleas.  They understood that no event is either good or bad, until you attach a meaning to it.  They decided to be grateful for everything in their lives, even though it was sometimes difficult to do so.  After a few months in their flea-infested quarters, they realized that no guards ever entered the front door to their dorms.  No women in their quarters were ever raped or abused at night.  When the torture of each day ended, they didn’t have to worry about surprise visits from the guards during the night, all because of the fleas!

The miracle of life, by itself, is enough to be overwhelmed with gratitude.  Take 20 minutes each morning to thank each body part, to thank the beauty in nature all around you, and the fact that you have the senses to observe that beauty.  Allow yourself to be overcome by gratitude.  If tears come, let them flow.  When you recognize all there is around you for which to be grateful, you will know very clearly that you are loved.  Accept this truth, and allow gratitude to fill your soul.

12 Responses to How Do I Become Genuinely Grateful?

  1. Bob White says:

    What a wonderful story (Corrie Ten Boom) about gratitude … thank you for sharing it! Although most do not realize it, everything that “happens” to us is for our benefit in some way or another. God has given us this life (mortality) as an opportunity to grow (to become like Him), and the only way we can grow is through meeting and overcoming adversities. There is a wonderful talk by one of the 12 apostles of my church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). His name is Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin and his talk was “Come What May and Love It.” Knowing that God has designed our life to help us grow, we can then become what is called an “inverse paranoid.” Unlike a paranoid, who feels the world is out to do him harm, an “inverse paranoid” sees every difficult or challenging event for what it could be–something that was meant to enrich him, empower him, or advance his causes!

    • Steve says:

      “Come what may and love it.” Sounds like a great article, could you send a link to it? thanks.

    • Kirk Farrar says:

      Bob White: Serious question here – Do you think such people already exist? I don’t know about you all, but I know NO-ONE Who, no matter who they are, that would not like a little less trouble in their lives. A little less hassle. A little less stress. It is not God, my friend, who really cares anything at all about what happens to us. God Just Is. The Holy Spirit sees the things we do, and have to put up with, here on this earth, but He/She doesn’t believe the things we see, like we believe them. Our looking at them with the Holy Spirit is the only way to never see them again. It is through this act of “true forgiveness” that we see the world as it really is: a place where our thoughts are shown back to us. And since one of the main thoughts we have is guilt over our seeming Separation from God, which never has, and never will happen, all we seemingly can agree on anymore is the existence of pain and fear, which are also made up in our mind. Might be blasphemous, but don’t really give a fig.

      • Steve says:

        Thanks Bob, for your thoughts. Clearly you have spent time pondering these ideas. While I like what you’ve said, I’m curious what you mean by “all we can agree on anymore is the existence of pain and fear…” Could you elaborate?

        • Kirk Farrar says:

          Hi Steve, this is Kirk who said that in reply to Steve White’s comments. What I meant is that it seems that all we agree on in this world, call it “the collective unconscious”, is in pain and fear, how ever we think it shows up in our life (physical, mental, spiritual, whatever). But even though this all seems real to us, so real, in fact, that it’s started wars and every other bad thing, at it’s base, it (fear and pain)has no base. They do not exist. That’s why I said this is probably blasphemous to almost everyone. I know this was for me, for the longest time. It still is on many days. It’s just when I’ve been able to catch incidents of the truth of the matter, maybe 5-6 times in my 50+ years, that Ive been able to see things a little differently. This is in no way a shout-out to be looked at as special. The fact is I could have these experiences probably everyday (as could everyone else), but my fear of seeing myself as a Holy Son of God has held me back.

  2. Charles Parson says:

    What a great article! It’s true that every thing that happens in my life was designed for me for my own growth. Overcoming hardship had to be part of the plan for us in order to grow. Yes I do believe there comes a time when the majority of the hardships go away, however we can not predict the future, and if a trial shows up in our life, we need to find a level of gattitude in it so that we can discover the hidden treasure it carries.

  3. Michelle says:

    Attitude of Gratitude. :) Thank you for the sharing.

  4. Debby says:

    I’ve always told my two kids to look for the good in people and in difficult situations. Sometimes it takes a lot of thought but if you look hard and long enough you will surely find it.
    Works for me! I say “Try it. Can’t hurt.”

  5. Zakiyyah says:

    Gratitude for WHATEVER you have is critical. gratitudelog.com is a cool (free) way to journal your gratitude.

  6. Junior Tumare says:

    Gratitude is the one of the most important aspect of life..Even in our parents we see that parents do open themselve up to those kids who show more gratitude..

  7. Danson Musyoka says:

    Great post just what i need

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