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Thought # 2

Thought # 2


On Gratitude

I learned today how this matters even when relationships are indirect. How deep this feeling of gratitude can run if truly accessed!

The dictionary definition is simple: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

This “quality” conveys an immense amount about an individual, especially in terms of humility. In fact, it can be a real determinant of character. The ability to feel deep gratitude indicates a softness of the heart that is often hard to access in an increasingly mechanized world. (There is a strange irony here: The fact that I chose to write on this theme tonight is perhaps indicative of some morsel of gratitude I feel in my heart and yet I choose to express the same via a machine! Go figure!!)

The real question that then arises is whether feeling gratitude is enough?

Perhaps there isn’t a black or white answer for this. Since we are so out of touch with ourselves, we don’t even allow ourselves to “feel” the gratitude as anything more than a fleeting emotion. So, congratulate yourself if you even made it to the point of feeling gratitude for more than just a fraction of a minute.

But then what of this gratitude?

Gratitude is like a warm fuzzy feeling – it doesn’t just go away if you don’t express it. To be fair, it doesn’t subside even when you do – it is one of those feelings that has a snowball effect and only grows with expression. But when you express gratitude, it becomes an exchange of love. A very dear friend of mine, (Yes! The same one!) shared with me on several occasions: “Gratitude is the seed of love.”

I don’t know if I can explain this well – since I am sure that I don’t fully understand it myself. The simplest way to restate this is that the quality of gratitude nourished, matures into love! What a wonderful thought. To think you can love and such a love, whose basis is gratitude and respect. If there is one thing I know – such a love will endure and such a love will serve as a haven for all parties involved.

But when is gratitude appropriate? At all times? Doesn’t that cheapen it?

Gratitude is real only when you feel it. You cannot force yourself to be grateful, else it becomes like any other chore – boring and an obligation. However, if you are moved or touched, your heart is bound to feel gratitude of its own accord. Be real – mean your gratitude rather than have it be some fluff just for the sake of!

I want to revisit this notion of gratitude in indirect relationships. I witnessed it for the second time in full swing today (I think the first time, I just couldn’t process it). Gratitude between two individuals situated in a fixed relationship is sweet. For example, Person A and Person B are friends. Person B helps Person A in a significant way and Person A feels immensely grateful to Person B.

Person A <---> Person B

Now, consider this:

Person C and Person A are friends.

Person A <---> Person C

Person B and Person C have no relation. Yet, like a Venn diagram, Person A intersects both Person B and Person C and as such B and C know of each other’s existence through A.

Person A is grateful to Person B for his help. But Person C, who has nothing to do with Person B, is also grateful to Person B for helping out Person A.

Person A ---gratitude---> Person B
Person C ---gratitude---> Person B

This gratitude in the heart of Person C is profound because it conveys multiple things:

  1. Person A is dear to Person C. This further implies, gratitude or love on the part of Person A towards Person C.

  2. Person C is humble to acknowledge the effort of Person B, express gratitude and even if a small gesture/ token – it goes a LONG way. This further implies, Person B feels grateful, even though, he may consider the help he offered to Person A simply to be the a duty of a friend.

So, in addition to the two instances of gratitude, we also have two more:

Person A ---gratitude---> Person C
Person B ---gratitude---> Person C

Is not this multiplier effect of gratitude far sweeter than the direct gratitude that Person A feels towards Person B?

There is another learning here – the heart or quality of gratitude can extend evermore for multiple people and thus, grow.

I found this specific quality really fascinating and at the same time have come to better realize how it is the basis for love.

Here is to each of us feeling grateful more often!

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