There’s a song called “Thank God for Dirty Dishes” that makes the point that if you’re lucky to have enough food to make dirty dishes, you should be grateful.
So instead of grousing about your property taxes, be thankful you own property. When you have to wait in line at the bank or are stuck in traffic, just be grateful you have money in the bank and a car to drive.
It makes sense, but that doesn’t make it easy.
I have to admit that appreciation has not been a natural attribute for me. In my more ambitious days when I believed that excess was not enough, gratitude seemed like a form of surrender and a very poor life strategy. After all, if you’re satisfied with the way things are, you’ll never make them better.
What a pity I had to reach my 50s before I began to appreciate appreciation. I finally began to see that it was irresponsible and irreverent not to realize how many things I should feel grateful for. I also came to realize how good it feels to acknowledge how good I have it.
Real gratitude is much more than politeness, like saying thank you when someone passes the salt or conveys good wishes; it’s a deeper psychological state of genuine thankfulness.
Whether we believe whatever good fortune we have is the product of our own labor and talents, random luck, or a gift from God, the fact remains that each of us could spend a full day identifying all the things that merit gratitude.
According to an old proverb, “If you never learn the language of gratitude, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness.”
I’m still a beginner, but it’s true; the more I appreciate, the happier I am. That’s a lesson I want my children to learn.