As Gratitude Week comes to an end, I ask you to step outside the box and put a connotation to the word. The dictionary tells us that Gratitude is the quality of being thankful, and readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Simply put, it’s the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you’re happy to know a person, humbled to be in a place, or glad to have a thing. It’s the definition’s latter half that I find most interesting: readiness to return kindness. If kindness breeds gratitude, and gratitude breeds kindness, are they really any different? I’d argue they’re one and the same. Every end is a beginning, and every beginning is an end, it’s a nonstop chain reaction!
Chemistry teaches us that reactions require a catalyst, or energy input to kick things off. ‘Get the ball rolling’, so to speak. That energy will remain in motion until it meets resistance. Think of it like a chain of cars in a fast-food drive-thru, where one car pays for the order behind it. The trend continues car-for-car, everyone pays for the order behind them, until someone is the last in line or chooses not to pass it on (resistance). Still, look at all the good created from one person’s extra swipe! Each car treats their paid-for order as an act of kindness, when in reality it was just Gratitude by definition: a readiness to return that warm, fuzzy feeling however possible.
As we move into the home stretch of this crazy year, the reason(s) for the season(s) are almost all about giving thanks. If you find yourself low on things to feel grateful for, remember that you have the ability to cultivate that gratitude. Be a catalyst, not a resistance. You never know just how far the chain reaction will go.
Gratitude is one of my favorite ways to start my day. Some people may not know it, but besides running my firm, I am a yoga teacher. I have studied over 500 hours now and there is science behind starting your day with a smile and gratitude for what you have. It can set the table for the rest of the day!