– the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness –
“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” – A.A. Milne
Gratitude is a long forgotten practice. Giving yourself over to appreciation of something that influences who you are, where you come from and where you are going is, maybe in just my opinion, taken for granted. It is an art that blends together both selflessness and ego to create an understanding that we are in fact governed by experience. The very act of offering thanks is a gentle gesture towards yourself and the world around you that you have been affected in some amplitude. A certain level of self-awareness is needed to have gratitude based upon an understanding of the sacrifice – big or small – that was given to make you better.
For that reason, true, genuine thanks is difficult to find. In many instances, we are socially controlled by deeds of holding doors open, smiling, giving a wave or a nod, while maybe not fully believing in the act. We just do it. Those on the receiving end of these gestures, I think, read through the bull shit. They know what we know and vise versa. The idea that we are conscious of robotic indications of thanks makes me think something has gone horribly wrong. Maybe, culturally speaking, we began giving thanks with all of our heart. However, have we crossed into only practicing as a shrine to what should be done, because that is what we are told, because that is what we should do? Are we conditioned to pretend without the knowledge of what it means to be truly grateful? Do we even know what that looks like?
I don’t think I know. I am asking because I genuinely do not understand. As much as I would like to be complacent and allow myself to tread these waters, I want to know if real thanks exists. A form of gratitude that is deeper and more authentic than general niceties. Even grandiose gestures followed by appreciation may not be what I am looking for. Maybe what I am looking for doesn’t actually exist and I am chasing a dream or ill-perceived concept. It is possible that I look far to deep into things.
And yet, I believe both in the possible as well as the impossible. Humanity is so much bigger, deeper and better than we (I) would like to give it credit for. I also think that I could be overlooking real offers of thanks because I personally want to see more out of it. But maybe it is something far more subtle. Maybe we can’t see it through our tunnel vision of what ‘it’ generally looks like. Our pre-programmed minds are difficult to recode, mine especially.
Whatever it looks like, whatever form it takes at least in general we understand the concept of giving thanks when it is due. Maybe the reason why I am seeking more is because I would like to offer more. There is so much in my life that I have to be grateful for and while gratitude is inherent, I need to acknowledge it more. What is stopping me from doing so?
I am a fortunate soul. We all are. Some of course may have it better than others, but who decides that? Even through my challenges, I understand that I have a good life. Perfect in all of the chaos, mess and filth. My hope is that others have it better and easier than I do. My self hatred, eating disorder, anxiety, depression and funk have created the perception that I don’t deserve what good the world has to offer and has made be selfish for something better. I understand that, but it is hard to be at peace with. I know so many others may not be as charmed as I am to even qualify what is ‘wrong’ with them. How can I be grateful of the life I have been given when I haven’t treated it with fairness and love.
That struggle is one best saved for another time. Today I did just want to explore what it means to be grateful, with everything you can. Genuine, thoughtful, bona fide appreciation. I have a theory that I am the one that needs to be better, not the rest of you. One thing about reflecting on the world, it usually is because you need to analyze your own self. I am the one that I would like to see offer more from the heart thanks. I do honestly feel blessed for everything that I have been provided with in life, no matter the size. I feel guilty that I haven’t come close to returning the favor. I promise, I will try, for reals rather than on instinct. Only the most authentic of people in this world can offer themselves over to something or someone without the thought of being thanked in return. I wish I could claim to be one.