Gratitude Pt. 1 (Unnoticed Kindness Is Fun)
I've decided I'm going to do a gradual series on gratitude. It's a concept we hear much about, but, often to the point that we don't appreciate its importance; it's a classic 'proximity breeds indifference' situation. There's countless reasons gratitude is a useless practice (yes, a practice - it isn't a one and done kind of thing), but I want to focus on just one reason in this article. Practicing gratitude for the little things makes doing the little things for other people more fun.
Serving others can feel like a waste of time. 'They won't appreciate my service - Nobody ever does'. Have you ever found yourself thinking this way? I'm willing to bet if your answer is no, you're lying or haven't thought hard enough. Hardly any of us feel appreciated for our efforts. Life often feels like series of punishments for doing wrong, and unacknowledged goodness. In this case, it makes sense that you would resort to avoiding doing wrong just enough to not get ridiculed, but not necessarily waste your energy on doing right. Cause who would care anyway?
What if your acts of service are more appreciated than you think they are? Would it be nice if people told you how great of a job you did holding the door open for that elderly woman at the restaurant? Sure. But most people will simply silently hold you in esteem. Your interpretations of others' feelings are colored by your own feelings about things. So if you routinely fail to practice gratitude for little acts of service, you will subconsciously assume others are unappreciative of your efforts all the same.
Maybe practicing more gratitude would start to color you reality a bit differently. Maybe actively pursuing gratitude for the art on your latte, or the warm greeting of the stranger on the bus who invited you to sit next to her would make you start to think other people aren't so bad. After all, you tend to assume other people are about as bad as you are, or worse. So if you raise your own bar of how you think of yourself, you'd raise the bar of the people around you. Your world would change. Suddenly, you realize that your acts of kindness don't go unnoticed. Unmentioned? Sure. But not unnoticed.
Here's the best part: The more gratitude you start feeling for the little things, the easier it is to get excited about giving that feeling to others. Your day to day life becomes a game of 'How can I give as much of that feeling away as possible?', and it isn't draining. It's life giving. It's exciting! Serving other people becomes fun because you know how good you can make them feel, because you yourself have felt that same gratitude. After all, you can only lead people where you have been.
So the first reason gratitude matters is that it makes serving people fun. It makes being good, feel good. It expands your opportunities at joy nearly infinitely, as it's not just the things that satisfy you that make your heart sing, but now the things that satisfy the other 7 billion people of Earth make your heart sing too. That's a hell of a lot more opportunity to sing.
- What are your thoughts on this article? Do you agree/disagree? Why? Send me your responses at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Instagram @musicbyhuntley and DM me your responses.