“One must be grateful” this statement sounds simple yet many of us never really follow it. This is because many of us are simply busy trying to protect our fragile egos. So what is really gratitude? It is more than just about saying thank you verbally, which hardly lasts a second. It is more than a transitory feeling of thankfulness for something or someone. It is about a find a deeper meaning of appreciation for someone or something, who contributed even in a small way for creating positivity and happiness in your life. But here is the catch, we must be thankful to those who loved and cared for us and who helped and guided us, but also to those who hurt us and put us down, who depressed us and deceived us. This is for the simple reason that all experiences (positive or negative) made us who we are today. This is exactly captured by Ralph Waldo Emerson in his famous quote: “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
Your parents gave you life. They raised you from a crying little mess to an adult that you are today. It takes a lot of patience, sacrifice and love to do so much for a fellow human being, even if you don’t do everything right. Parenting is the toughest job in the world, but also the most fulfilling. Be thankful for everything they have done. This does not necessarily mean that you must obey everything they say, you also have your life to live and have to make your own choices and learn from your own experiences. But it is our duty to honor them and respect them for everything that they have done for us and continue to do. The same goes in terms of thanking your grandparents, who passed on the legacy of love through your parents. Similarly, our siblings are the closest relations to us other than our parents. Without them our world will be void and colorless. Their fights, arguments, advices and affection help shape our personality. Your spouse and children obviously have a huge impact on how you lead your life and in terms of sharing your ups and downs. They are the biggest support system that you’ll ever have. Last but not the least comes our closest friends and pets, who help us relieve our stress by being ourselves and by helping us share our affection, which is why they become part of our family. We must be grateful for having these people in our lives, who come in various names, shapes and forms and who enrich our lives with valuable and memorable experiences.
Here are some ways in which you can show your family members and loved ones gratitude: Share a beautiful example of something special they did for you and how it made a difference in your life. You can share it during a family dinner or while having a cup of tea with them. Do something small but thoughtful for them, like clean up after dinner, cook breakfast for them. Help them run some simple errands etc. This shows that you love them as much as they love you. Give a hug or share a smile. Buy them something special albeit small and inexpensive. Something created by you like a painting drawn by yourself or a poetry composed by yourself is a great form of exhibiting gratitude. Show them you’re there to listen to them if they have anything they want to discuss about and let them know that they have your full support if they ever need your help. Give them something of yours that you think they would enjoy, and let them know specifically why you want them to have it. Give them the opportunity to do something you know they’ve always wanted to do. For example, you could take your mother to a music concert that she always wanted to attend. It should be an unexpected experience for them yet enjoyable and worthy. Encourage them to try something you know they want to try, but haven’t yet because they’re scared. For example, if your children wanted to taste a new dish that you promised them you’d let them try once. Offer to do something you know they don’t enjoy doing, like organizing their bookshelf or cleaning their house. This could be for your parents, siblings or friends. You have to know what kind of help they are comfortable receiving from you. That knowledge is part of showing your gratitude to them. Let them know that you admire whatever talent, skill, or strength that they might have. Finally, do not forget to look into their eyes and say that they make your life special and loved, just as you hope you would do to their lives by your presence.