A friend of mine recently shared in my fellowship her discovery: gratitude is an action, not a feeling. Denominating it as a mere emotion degrades gratitude, and it changed the way I write out my daily (well, weekly) gratitude journal.
No longer is it enough to be grateful for my home, my friends, and my health.
Now I need to do something about it to justify noting them down.
‘I am grateful for my health therefore I will exercise today, brush my teeth and remove my makeup before bed.’
‘I am grateful for the food I have therefore I will eat mindfully and clean the dishes immediately.’
Why is this so important?
Active gratefulness keeps us anchored in reality and close to the things we care about.
It humbles me to see how many things I still take for granted. Surely, I wouldn’t just leave my clothes lying on the floor if I did indeed value them as I should?
This process shows me what room there is to grow, a kind of personal inventory I take of my actions. It allows me to remove myself from a mere listing to an external point of view: how is this gratitude expressed?
There is still a long way to go until I am satisfied with how I treat what I care about.
But having tangible steps towards my goal allows me to step out of a repetitive pattern and towards the person I know I am meant to be.