Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Upside of Graititude

Five years ago I read a book that literally changed my life: 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. The daughter of a minister, Voskamp felt empty so she began an exercise recording moments of gratitude in a journal until she collected 1,000 entries. Her life changed for the better. I too began that practice and although it begins as an inside job, it can't help but transform in other aspects of your life. 

This morning I read a piece in the NYT by Barbara Ehrenreich in which she argues that there is a selfish side of gratitude. She writes about new age fluff and the falsity of positive thinking. I believe that there is a vast difference between positive thinking and gratitude. Gratitude is the result of acknowledging blessings we have in our lives and is not limited to material things like shelter and food. It could be moments and images that are forever etched in our memories. Positive thinking may be the precursor to an action that has been researched as a suitable action, or not. It is the notion that just thinking positively about anything will make it so and has given this action a bad rap. 

Gratitude can reap positive thinking, happiness, contentment opening one to realizing the extraordinary in the ordinary. Is there really a bad side to gratitude? I have been racking my brain trying to come up with negatives, but I come up empty. What would a world be like void of gratitude? Hopeless? Perhaps it would be filled with souls believing that they are entitled? Would there be happiness? What do you think?

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