Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
At this time of year, we tend to take stock of our lives, what we have achieved throughout the year; our successes and all that could have been. Being grateful for what we have is important. Expressing gratitude and appreciation to others is an essential component in maintaining healthy relationships.
In an HBR article Stop Making Gratitude All About You, Heidi Grant said that other than expressing gratitude for what we have, expressing gratitude to others serves arguably an even more important purpose. “Expressing gratitude to someone who helps you, keeps them interested and invested in having a relationship with you over the long haul. It makes their time, effort, and inconvenience seem worth it.”
Taking a photo of a glorious sunset is not only about capturing the obvious beauty of the moment, but it also elicits joyful emotions and feelings of gratitude and appreciation. We are not necessarily entitled to anything in this life, and nobody owes us anything. Gratitude comes from the heart and it seeks no response and asks nothing in return.
Expressing gratitude allows for the following powerful practices:
- Giving unconditionally – this is an easy statement, but potentially hard to implement. It means giving and expecting nothing in return. We give without any conditions.
- Opening ourselves up to receive – giving unconditionally means we allow ourselves to receive more blessings and more to be thankful for.
- Being mindful and present – by focusing on our present position and situation, we are grateful and appreciative for what is. The focus is on what is and not on what “should or could,” have been.
Every time I take a photo of a sunset I am reminded of the beauty and simplicity of the sun going down over the land or the ocean. A sunset takes only a few moments, but in those moments, we can capture such incredible beauty. It always reminds me to be grateful for what I have, and it takes only a few moments to express appreciation.
“Gratitude is a powerful process for shifting your energy and bringing more of what you want into your life. Be grateful for what you already have and you will attract more good things” -The Secret