“The more you become a connoisseur of gratitude, the less you are a victim of resentment, depression, and despair. Gratitude will act as an elixir that will gradually dissolve the hard shell of your ego—your need to posses and control—and transform you into a generous being. The sense of gratitude produces true spiritual alchemy, makes us magnanimous-large souled.”—Sam Keen, philosopher
Five Keys to Becoming a Connoisseur of Gratitude
1. Look for the Good in Others: This is simple but not easy; it requires that we are present in the moment, conscious of our judging thoughts, intentional in our efforts to see others as humans first. Unconsciously we move through our days and our to-do list seeing others as objects that are there to do a job, objects that get in our way, slow us down, make life difficult, don’t follow orders, or don’t do things the way we think they should be done. Using your life experiences/empathy, consciously connect with the human being behind their actions, re-actions, words, or deeds. Intentionally see others as human beings first with the same needs and desires as you versus human-havings or human-doings. Dig if you must to find the good.
2. Express Your Gratitude: It takes practice to clearly articulate how our lives have been enriched by others actions and a conscious awareness of the intention behind our expressions of gratitude. People can sense the true intention behind our expressions of gratitude and thanks. Ask yourself if your comment is placing you in a superior role as the judge of good and evil behavior, or are you attempting to manipulate or influence them for your personal gain or for ego gratification? Learn to authentically express the good you see in others and show gratitude when they have enriched your life in a meaningful way.
3. Look For the Good in You: Recognize, acknowledge, and be grateful for what you have to offer to others, the difference you make in the world. Keep a gratitude journal or if journaling is not for you, at least bring your awareness to the things you do daily that make a difference in others lives. This can be a simple action such as a warm and welcoming smile to someone you pass on the street. This awareness exercise can be eye opening and revealing. Gratitude is receiving gracefully and giving joyfully of our gifts and talents.
4. Receive Appreciation Gracefully Without False Humility or Egotism: Golda Meir, when she was the Prime Minister of Israel, once chided one of her ministers: “Don’t be so humble, you’re not that great.” Often a simple “thank you” will do. Take the appreciation to heart with joy and gratitude that you were able to make a difference for someone. Receive gratitude with the same empathy for yourself as you will give to others.
5. Look for the Good in Each Moment: The Secret to Happiness and to becoming a Connoisseur of Gratitude is being present to what is happening in this moment, being grateful for this moment. This moment is the only place to experience real joy, happiness, and recognize what and who there is to be grateful for.
“The present moment is the field on which the game of life happens. It cannot happen anywhere else.”—Eckhart Toole
Live large without the need for false humility or ego gratification. Acknowledge and be grateful for all of your gifts and talents. Look for the good in others and in situations, say it out loud, and give and receive the gift of authentic gratitude.