According to Google, the word grateful means “feeling or showing appreciation of kindness; thankful.” The word gratitude means “the quality of being thankful; ready to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”

Why do we all struggle with being grateful and expressing our gratitude for the good things and people in our lives? Why is that we can pray, hope and long for something to happen and when it does we appreciate it for only a short a time before it becomes average and boring? It’s one of the great mysteries of the human experience; one of my least favorite actually. I would like to feel deep levels of gratefulness and express my gratitude on a more consistent basis. How about you?

I think one of the keys to sustained levels of gratitude is to often reflect on what our lives would be like without the particular item or person.  Not in some depression, sadness inducing way but rather to take the time to get quiet and ponder all that enriches our lives and how would we feel without them. Just small moments of reflection can bring our hearts and minds back to where we should be; grateful.

Now, I do feel the need to say that among the christian circle especially, I find that many folks are talking themselves into being grateful for things that in all honest, really should improve. Let me clarify. If a job, relationship, health status or other item isn’t fully functioning, then we need to not become lazy and call it gratefulness. Let us not sit back and just be in gratitude that we are not divorced yet but do nothing to improve the marriage or grateful to have  a job but be stalled-out in our career and sugar coat it by saying we are “just grateful to be employed.” I find many people use this concept of gratitude to hide behind laziness. Let’s not do that, ok?

Instead, let us appreciate the small and big things in our lives and always be looking for ways to improve their quality and function. Look around you. What are you grateful for and what are some actions you can take to make those things even better?!

What are you grateful for today?