Gratitude generates warm feelings between people. Love without gratitude can’t endure. In marriage, in parent-child relationships, in any relationship – Over the years, where there is no gratitude there won’t only be absence of love; there will be outright animosity.
Everyone has faults. All it takes to be able to live together is seeing the good points too.
We can develop gratitude by getting into the habit of telling people we appreciate them for what they’re doing for us. If we can recognize the benefit even an inanimate object gives us, we can certainly acknowledge all kinds of things that people do for us simply because we’ve been the recipient of good. Even if this person is “only doing his job,” from my perspective I’m benefiting from it and that’s what matters.
While we were studying this section of the book Alei Shur, my friend and I added that although the person helping me is “just doing his job anyway,” he’ll spend the money he earns to buy food and eat the food and the food will be gone.
At the end of the day, working as a cashier or delivery boy or inventory taker is how he’s spending his time. This is how he’s spent his life – helping me (and many other people). No amount of compensation can change that fact. So I can be grateful to him and to the long chain of all of the people who contributed to my being able to purchase this carrot.
One time I remember having a surge of very powerful feelings of gratitude was during a minor operation. It’s not as if it was life-threatening and they saved my life, because it wasn’t life-threatening. The reason why my feelings of gratitude were so powerful was because I was in a totally passive position and was able to focus entirely on the way that everyone was doing very focused work for me. They were “just doing their jobs” but I felt so privileged. It was the complete opposite of taking for granted. I felt an incredible, overwhelming sense of being cared for. Everyone was rushing all around me in perfect harmony efficiently doing a multitude of tasks – all for my sake.
This vision makes me realize it’s possible to recognize this all the time, and to say “thank you” much more often.