Gratitude is an emotion and personality trait. As an emotion, it is the happiness and fulfillment one feels by exercising their resolution to look at things positively and wholly and enjoy their life and whatever it offers. As a personality trait, it can be understood as the habit of appreciation of life, both the animate and inanimate aspects, and taking in whatever experiences it has to offer.
Therefore, it is safe to say that the terms, ‘gratitude’ and ‘appreciation’ go hand-in-hand but there are some situations where they do not complement each other well. For example, looking back at a heartbreak or a bad day at work or a fight with a friend you might be able to differentiate that the outcome and the process, either one of those was not so likeable and off-putting but the other one taught you something about yourself or your friend or about the greater truth of existence which you can comprehend.
Therefore, looking back you will express your gratitude for that incident for teaching you a virtue but wouldn’t appreciate it for the sour way the events took place. Knowing the difference is also a hidden gift your mind gets!
What Happens when We ‘feel’ and ‘express’
I am going to talk about 10 aspects of gratitude and appreciation we all experience and let others experience when we feel and express the above mentioned.
The ‘feel’ aspect is the personal gain— to your mind, soul, and body. The ‘express’ aspect goes out to the people you surround yourself with.
Here are 5 points explaining just that:
Expressing thanks or gratefulness and appreciation builds the foundation for trust between you and the people you surround yourself with. Letting them know that their actions have been carried out for the positive and made you feel good makes them feel productive and content. Also, healthy and honest criticisms are a way of expressing appreciation where you let them know, how and why something has offended or hurt you. This way they know what to avoid, thus avoiding any mishaps in the future.
Letting the other person know that their intention was communicated through and received well even with the presence of some criticism motivates them to do good and makes them more compassionate and empathetic. It helps them express themselves more freely and also makes them feel appreciated and liked.
Having a network of good, kind, intelligent, positive, and motivating people is very important for self-growth and the growth of a community. Expressing appreciation for such qualities by the way of a hug or a thoughtful gift is essential and a much-respected way of strengthening relations and letting the other person know that you will be there for them if and when needed.
Feeling of mutual respect where boundaries, likes, and dislikes and diversity is accepted and kept in mind is a very strong foundation to build a community upon. Your expression of affection for someone’s values or habits or actions can go a long way and communicate the feeling of esteem and cohesion for the existence of a healthy environment.
This point is a reiteration and talks about the importance of healthy and clear lines of communication in a community. Participating in community events, celebrating each others’ festivities, traditions, and any other small achievement not only encompasses all the aspects already mentioned but also ensures overall growth. The collective attempt at celebrating, mourning, lending a helping hand, and essentially just being there for each other and growing together with the mutual feeling of gratefulness and appreciation for diversity ensures harmony and peace.
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Why is it important?
Like I mentioned before the ‘feel’ aspect of gratitude and appreciation is for personal growth.
It is essential because for a human being there are three branches of its existence it needs to look after and sustain. Those are the mind, body, and soul. To become the best version of yourself where you realize your goals and constantly work on yourself towards growth and a better and healthier you, you need to nourish all 3 parts of your existence.
How does expressing gratitude and appreciation help?
Here are the five aspects of gratitude that explain its importance for personal growth.
Display of Kindness, Compassion, & Empathy
Expressing thanks is essentially the umbrella term for the display of kindness, compassion, and empathy. These values are very important for self-growth and are emotions that drive you to be a better person. The acts that encompass these feelings make you feel well-liked and efficient in not just making efforts for someone else but also, for your good, because if you feel capable to feel for others then you will deal with your self too!
Strengthens Your Relationship
Who you are is also defined by the people you surround yourself with and how you treat them. Displaying respect, trust and positivity not only strengthens your relationship but also leads to people also treating you in the same way, thus making you feel loved and cherished. This ensures a state of happiness and appreciation of the mind and soul and you feel more inclined to take care of yourself.
It is a way of life. Having a positive and calm outlook towards life and all the experiences it offers not only ensures the presence of good physical and mental health but also makes you motor through tough times in life because you know how to appreciate the good and embrace the bad.
Boosts your morale
Self-awareness and knowing what is good and bad for you is important to ensure that you realize all your goals and aspirations and become the best version of yourself. Expressing gratitude and taking notes from unfortunate and off-putting situations is a healthy way to grow. This boosts your morale and makes you want to live life more wholly because you accept all aspects of it and appreciate your overall existence in the universe.
Act of Self-love & Self-growth
This may sound repetitive but the act of self-love and self-growth is essential for a healthy and fulfilling life. To grow, learn, feel, and live freely one must know and recognize what works best for him/her. To gain this knowledge one must be willing to accept and learn from all things. Appreciating the essence you gain from each situation and trusting the greater universe for all things is a healthy way to look at life and your self. Of course, we have different belief systems and some of us do not believe in the imaginary existence of a supreme deity. But for inner peace and happiness, one must believe in the power of positivity which one can gain through living through life in the rawest form and absorbing whatever life teaches you.
Life is a vast universe. You are one more tiny universe that exists with likewise forms and how you live in your universe and cohesion with others defines the fate of this enormous creation. Being thankful for its existence and appreciating its glory and its mess is very important for survival and growth.
Edited by Annanya Chaturvedi