Friday, August 1, 2014

Core Principle Number 4 - Choose Gratitude


Gratitude As A Chosen Attitude

The late Catholic priest, psychologist, and devotional writer Henri Nouwen knew this:
Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are steep and hurt and resentful. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. I can choose to be grateful when I am criticized, even when my heart responds in bitterness ... I can choose to listen to the voices that forgive and to look at the faces that smile, even while I still hear words of revenge and see grimaces of hatred. 

What does it mean to say that gratitude is a choice? It means that we sharpen our ability to recognize and acknowledge the giftedness of life. It means that we make a conscious decision to see blessings instead of curses. It means that our internal reactions are not determined by external forces.

That gratitude is a conscious does not imply that it is an easy decision. The ability to choose gratitude may not come easily, naturally, or effortlessly. While gratitude is pleasant, it is not easy. We have to work at it. It must be consciously cultivated. Albert Einstein admitted that he needed to remind himself a hundred times a day that his  inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that "I must exert myself in order to give in the measure as I have received and I am still receiving."

"Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
Marcel Proust

 "Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for."
Epicurus

 "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."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."
G.K. Chesterton

"Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude."
A.A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh)

"Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good."
Maya Angelou (Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer

"Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance."
Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose

"If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough."
Meister Eckhart