Monthly Musing – January 2020 – Gratitude
“I’m very grateful …”
They’re words that are used a lot in everyday life and it wasn’t until I started the Winter Haven Knit-along (KAL) that has been running on the blog this month that I really started to think about how much – and how – they are used.
My first job was for a bank and lots of formal letter writing was involved. “I would be grateful if … you could complete this form, you could let me know if you would be available, if you could reply by return …” It was a standard form of asking for something and I don’t think the dictionary definition of being “warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits” particularly applied in this case. However, remembering those letters has made me think about how the use of gratitude as both a word and as a behaviour has changed over the years.
When I was little, the only form of being grateful that I was brought up with was saying “thank you” if somebody gave you something, or in a prayer that we said at school or if we ever went to a church service. There’s a lot of “giving thanks” in church services, but if you’re not religious then it probably wasn’t something that you ever thought a great deal about.
Fast forward thirty plus years and gratitude is something that has moved on from formal correspondence (how many emails do you get that start with Dear Sir or Madam?) and has become something that is more widely recognised as a Good Thing to be aware of.
I’ve kept a gratitude journal on and off for some time – I’m more likely to say my thanks in my head than write it in a book – but the habit of thinking about it and writing it down regularly for the KAL has really made me stop and think about what I have been warmly or deeply appreciative of, even if it’s been a few days after the event. Writing it down has added an extra dimension to it and I definitely feel that it is something that I am going to continue with even when the KAL is over.
Being grateful for something – anything, even the air we breathe! – has made me realise that it’s like a snowball rolling down a hill (come on, it’s Winter and it’s raining here, I need to get my snow fix somewhere!); the further and faster it goes, the more snow it picks up and I have found that over the month, gratitude has worked in the same way for me. The more I have thought about what I am grateful for, the more I have had to be grateful about.
I am glad that gratitude has made it into mainstream consciousness; it shouldn’t be confirmed to formality or religion because that’s not how we live our lives – and we should be grateful for that!