We learned before that the primary result of gratitude is friendship. That’s not the only benefit. Gratitude gives a person a positive outlook on life. In the Bible, it was not appropriate for Moses to be the emissary for the plague of blood because it was the water that saved him. When he was a baby his sister had carefully placed him into a basket in the water and Pharaoh’s daughter took him from the water. It doesn’t matter that the water is an inanimate object. He had to acknowledge the protection afforded him by the water.
In our chevruta study (my friend and I as study partners) we noted that this aspect is related to acknowledgment of one’s worthiness to receive a gift.
We moved on from there to times of disappointment in relationships, where we felt worthy enough to receive the gift of empathy and didn’t get it. Someone’s response left us still feeling unsatisfied even if the person was trying to be empathetic. Other times the person did not need to say much or even said nothing at all and we felt comforted. It seems that feelings of another person can never be one hundred percent understood and although we would like to be understood what we really crave is presence. At that moment of deeply felt emotions we want the person to come into this space with us and be there with us, to connect around the experience.
We also talked about challenging, sometimes even painful situations where we frequently miss seeing a difficult situation as an opportunity to be thankful. At the time we are too overwhelmed by the task at hand, overwhelmed by the other person’s emotions, etc.
Gratitude connects a circuit. Brain cells can’t function without a transmitter between them.
Looking back, I feel we missed the main point of this aspect of gratitude. It’s true that I need to acknowledge that I am worthy of good, but in a basic way I need to acknowledge that I have been a recipient of good. There is a very simple way to develop this emotion. Notice good things in your life.
Until next time, won’t you join us in exploring this? What has your experience of gratitude taught you?