5 myths to challenge


1. Saying “thank you” more often will make you more grateful

Gratitude is a feeling before it is a doing. Expressing thanks to someone is important, yet more important is the sincerity of the expression.

My Italian friend told me once that her family rarely say “I love you” to one another. At the time I judged this as a negative thing. Yet when she explained that the love is a given, and is expressed in actions rather than words, I understood the value in silent expression.

I think of gratitude in a similar way. We can thank people profusely, but our sincerity comes from within us, before it can be experienced by others.

2. Gratitude leads to complacency

When someone has thanked us for our time, our words or our kindness, do we feel compelled to kick back? No. Because we experience a joy when we can positively affect the lives of others. It makes us feel alive. And that feeling inspires us to do more.

Similarly, when we begin to feel deeply thankful for each day, and the people and events in it, we feel an aliveness that inspires us to find more things to appreciate, and we are inspired to create more things in our lives to be grateful for.


3. It’s about acknowledging your better life situation than another

When a natural disaster strikes a different part of the world, the rawness of mediated images can jolt us into a sense of gratitude for our safety. Yet the subtle difference is that we are not suddenly presented with a reason to be grateful, but we are given the opportunity to reflect on all we have taken for granted.

4. Being grateful means you can’t be discerning

I recently read a great piece by the ABC’s Kerry Stewart that included an insightful thought on this. It says that we cannot be grateful for violence or hatred or exploitation, but within adversity there can be opportunities to learn, to grow, to protest, or even start a cause.

5. Gratitude is the stuff of self-help books and pop psychology

Well, it can be, and it often is. But to think this way is reductionist and misses the very point. If you have ever woken up and felt unexpectedly happy and gone about your day with a spring in your step, and smiled at the child on the scooter who nearly took out your shins (and perhaps even his parent!), you would have experienced a profound joy in simply being. This is the essence of gratitude. And no book could have taught it to you.

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9 Responses to “5 myths to challenge”
  1. Great blog! Especially like the last point… hopefully the other points can be taken on board by more people so they we naturally do wake up with a “spring in our step”. When you’re happy it has a domino effect, and you often find yourself saying thank you and being kind to others without even trying.

  2. Great post. I recently saw a video – I wish I could find the link for you but I can’t – that really showed how lending a helping hand and being grateful has an amazing domino effect. It started with a kid helping someone less fortunate, and then that person was grateful and helped another, and so on and so forth. It was a really nice representation of how just taking a second to help someone who might be having a crappy day can really have a big effect. I think being grateful in general and remembering to count our blessings definitely has the ability to make us feel happier in our lives. Great cause!

  3. vhubarc says:

    Hey that was a great post! I really agree that saying “Thank You” does make you more grateful. It reminds me of Aristotle’s philosophy of Happiness. You feel happy by making others happy. Such a great way to live.

  4. nizarshami92 says:

    I really enjoyed this post. We do tend to take our lives somewhat for granted considering the high quality of life we enjoy here in Australia. I do sometimes feel we overcomplicate our lives. If we were to just chill and just start “being” like you said in your last point i think we will all just be a lot more happier. Keep up the good work.
    -Cristian D.

  5. A well presented blog, very easy to read and engage with. Well done! We often look past the positive things in our lives because for some reason, it seems easier to focus on the negatives. I feel a little happier after reading this blog.

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