Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. – Cicero
What does that mean?
Well, to discuss this, we need some virtues. While each religion and culture have their own take on virtue, hopefully this list will help you get the quote’s idea. Lets start with self-control, fairness, respect, and kindness. You can try this with your favorite virtues.
Each of these are based on gratitude. Can you have:
- self-control without gratitude for yourself or the effort that went into raising you?
- fairness without gratitude for how evenly you have been dealt with in the past?
- respect without gratitude for how others have shown respect for you?
- kindness without gratitude for how others have treated you in the past?
While some of these questions may seem kind of circular, I believe life is quite circular in nature. I have found that the people who treat others poorly had been treated poorly at some point in their life. They lost the gratitude that comes with being treated well.
Why is gratitude important?
I have seen the same result in people without gratitude in the other virtues listed above. While you may not have thought of it in that manner, I imagine you know or have met people without gratitude in some aspect of their life, and how their virtues were shaped by the lack of it.
On the other hand, you have almost certainly know or have met people who have immense amounts of gratitude in some parts of their lives. You probably also noted how strong they were in the related virtues. Which of the two people described would you rather emulate?
We all have some gratitude in our lives, each in different areas, each in different strengths or amounts. I believe we will each live better lives, and the world will be improved by that tiniest little bit for our effort. A worthy thing, in my book.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Like so many things in life, gratitude gets easier with practice. Start small, and keep doing it, over and over again, until the little things are a habit. Then start working on larger and larger things, until you are simply overwhelmed with gratitude.
If you have a morning or evening ritual, I have a suggestion for you. Take a few moments in that routine to think of all the things for which you are grateful. They could be as simple as waking up and still being alive, or the anticipation of things to come. It could also be a review of the things that happened that day, or the day prior.
Does that sound like it would be a great hardship, to take a few moments and both list, and feel the emotion of gratitude for all the things in your life for which you are grateful? To me, that sounds like a fairly easy way to get started, does it sound fairly easy to you? Will you start tonight or tomorrow morning?
If you don’t have a regularly scheduled time set aside in the morning or evening, perhaps you could multi-task. Consider some of the mindless tasks you perform in the morning or evening. Making coffee, brushing your teeth, or even using the bathroom. Could you spare a moment within those activities in which to be grateful?
Another starting point for gratitude is each time someone does something nice for you. I’ll use my old standby of someone holding a door open for you. You can thank them, and allow yourself a moment to feel grateful that the person thought you worthy of a few moments of their precious life.
You can also be grateful each time someone notices you doing something, and thanking you. Perhaps you were the one holding the door open. You can feel some gratitude that the other person noticed you held the door open for them, and even more so if they were polite enough to thank you for your time and effort on their behalf.
As you spend more of your time with an attitude of gratitude, you will begin to notice that the virtues which are encompassed by all of your different forms of gratitude will also begin to manifest themselves more fully and more strongly.
The only question is how much effort you will put into the task. What you get out of the exercise will depend on what you are willing to put into it. If you do it daily, as well as at the moment incidents occur, I believe you will see results fairly quickly. At least that’s how it has worked for me.
Gratitude is a great thing to have, and an even better thing to give. As you let others know you are grateful, are you not showing your virtue in that aspect of your life?
From: Twitter, @tonyrobbins
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/marcustull122152.html
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