I think gratitude is something I need to work on in myself. So often, I am blinded by negative events, so that I can’t even think of something good at the time. This reading was good for me right now because there is a lot of negative stuff going on with my team at the moment, so the examples of having gratitude in bad times were very helpful. I came to terms with the fact that, although things are bad right now, at least I have my friends supporting me and each other. I am incredibly grateful to have a large portion on my team there as support as everything goes down.
As for customs surrounding gratitude, no, I don’t really have any beyond the typical politeness. I think a good custom would be really analyzing my gratitude when I thank someone. I already do this, in a way. When I really want someone to know that I mean a thank-you, I makes sure not to make it just a casual “hey, thanks”. Instead, I’ll say “thank you so much,” or I’ll make sure the person I am grateful toward can see clearly in my face that I mean what I am saying. Usually, conveying my sincerity requires a level of awareness about how I feel, which then makes me feel even more happy about whatever I’m grateful for. This is like what the author of Active Hope was talking about in reference to gratitude journals. In order to achieve full happiness about something, you have to be able to dwell on it and appreciate it openly. This acknowledgement makes the joy last longer. So, before reading this I could see no positives in the last 24 hours. Then, I snapped out of it and thought I was being ridiculous, there is always a positive side. Beyond my friends being a supportive structure as my team devolves into madness, I am also grateful to my family, in this case for being quiet. The audio I took was in the middle of me reading chapter 3 of Active Hope. In it, there are noises of my brother’s videogame and something playing on my sister’s phone, but no one was chattering and being distracting because both my mom and I were working. I really appreciated the lack of distractions because I need to be able to get my homework done at this point, so I can go to sleep.
The final point for this blog post addresses our economy, which doesn’t support gratitude at all. We have been conditioned to be selfish and individualistic, which are traits that blind us to feelings of gratefulness. Since we are so focused on growth, we tend to get greedy and competitive, which are feelings that are internally focused and therefore cause us to neglect to attribute good things to other people. We are so focused on acquiring more goods, that we don’t appreciate what we already have. This is why so many people are so unhappy in this society; we think we know what we want, but, really, we are grasping at superficial objects that will only perpetuate the emptiness of our lifestyles.