Monday, April 8, 2013

Taking Gratitude for Granted



"When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude"-  Gilbert K. Chesterton
Gratitude is not something I think about often, I am embarrassed to say. I take so many things for granted, and I know many of you are guilty of the same thing. Saturday night I stayed up late and finished reading Jodi Picoult's latest book The Storyteller. I don't care what your personal opinion is of Picoult; I think she is very skilled at weaving tales that transcend time and narrators, and this latest novel was no exception. I'm not going to spoil anything, other than to tell you that there is a Nazi/Holocaust theme throughout.

In college I minored (almost double majored) in Religious Studies, with my concentration being Judaic Studies, so none of the information in the novel was new to me, but it was a great reminder of how blessed and lucky we really are. I was taking a shower Sunday morning and it dawned on me how lucky, how BLESSED, I am to have running water, which led to a long list of things I take for granted instead of with gratitude. It can be a rude awakening.


Boyfriend Jeans- Gap 
Bird Print Button-Up- JC Penney's


So what is gratitude? Gratitude is defined as feeling or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. In the Jewish religion, since I have that on my mind right now (and please correct me if I am wrong, because I am not Jewish), gratitude is integral to daily life and worship. The Old Testament is filled with the idea of gratitude. To take it a step further, Picoult mentions several times in the book that it is most important to "be a mensch", a person of great integrity and honor. A person who does for others and is thankful for what they have. A person who helps others, who is a peacemaker, who does the right thing the right way, who strives to be a better person.

How can we have an "attitude of  gratitude"? How can we become better people? There's no book to buy or club to join. It's easy to do. It's free. It can change your life. You can write a gratitude letter to someone in your life. You can keep a gratitude journal and statistically be happier than people who don't. Instead of being angry, criticizing or complaining, try being kind, grateful or thankful. This is not an overnight experience. The road to gratitude is long and filled with detours and setbacks. I write this as much to remind myself as to remind you. 

It doesn't matter what religion you believe (though all teach gratitude) or if you follow no religion. This is a universal idea. So, let's hear it. What are you grateful for?




26 comments:

Sarah Welsch said...

I agree! I think a lot of people take things for granted. I try to be thankful for everything I have,but sometimes I forget. This is a good remnder!



Sarah



www.etsy.com/shop/owleyevintage

Crystal said...

This was such a beautiful post...the instant after reading it, it made
me want to be a better person. I enjoyed this post, it is truly very inspiring.
I've never read anything by Jodi Picoult, but I think I want to read
this. I'm grateful for a great many things (my life, health, son, hubby, family, home, job)..the list is endless. I do admit that at times I am forgetful and I don't always acknowledge all of the blessings God has given me. Thank you for the reminder...I know I for one, plan to do better. :)

Carrie said...

Lovely post! I am grateful for my health and the support of my family. :)
My friend and I have, for the last few years, tried to e-mail each other 3 things we are grateful for that day. It really encourages me to take a minute to appreciate things on a daily basis, and it's a nice way to keep up with each other since we live far apart.

p.s. - I am usually not into bird prints, but I really like that shirt! Your arrow bracelet caught my eye, too - I've been thinking about getting one of those or an arrow necklace for a while. :)

EvaNadine said...

i love this post! i realized a while ago that i am by nature a pessimist -- i always find something to complain about, even about the best things in life. and reading this, it makes me realize that much of that pessimism is probably founded in a lack of gratitude! i started a positivity blog quite some time ago, where i was making a conscious effort to see the brighter side of life. it's been a while since i've posted there, but i think it's time to dust if off. we can always find something to be thankful for!

Selah said...

I participated in a "30 Days of Thankful" blog series last November. The things I was thankful for varied from big (freedom) to small (purple skinny jeans) to personal (specific people in my life). I think it's especially important to be grateful for your loved ones and to TELL them so.

Audrey @ Putting Me Together said...

I'm constantly trying to cultivate more gratefulness in my own heart, so sometimes I make lists of what I'm grateful for because I don't want to take anything for granted. Like Selah said my things range from big to small. When I first started doing these lists I felt superficial writing "small" or seemingly superficial things, but I've realized that it's important to acknowledge the little things because even little things are blessings, and they add up, and they often point to bigger things. Like chocolate ice cream? When I stop to be grateful for it I'm also reminded to be grateful that I have the means and freedom that allows me to access and be able to eat chocolate ice cream whenever I want. Some families don't have that luxury, and entire countries don't have that ability. Like I said, I don't want to take things lightly or take them for granted!

Lenore @lather.write.repeat. said...

Okay this is totally off topic but i had a little giggle of glee when I opened your post to see you wearing the exact same shirt I'm wearing today :) I live in Canada and did a little road trip to North Dakota on the weekend and spotted it....great taste lady!

xo

Lenore
www.latherwriterepeat.blogspot.com

Charlotte Issyvoo said...

Oh, this is a really lovely post. I try to live a life of gratitude as much as I can and I'm actually pretty good at it. I seldom bath or wash my face without thinking how lucky I am to have hot, running water. I'm grateful to live in a country (Canada) where I have freedom as a woman, and free health care. I am grateful for all the open space and natural beauty I have here. I am grateful for art, including art in fashion and jewelry.



I suffered a really terrible, crippling back injury several years ago and am now in chronic pain which leaves me disabled. A big part of why I started my blog was to cultivate my joys in the really small beauties, including style, that help make a life in pain bearable. I refer to them as "sublime mercies" and that's the name of my blog. I know it might not be kosher (ha ha) to paste urls to specific posts in comments but this one is so related to your theme today, and so answers your question, that I'm going to go ahead and do it anyway. I hope you don't mind.

http://www.sublimemercies.com/2013/01/small-blessings-birds-and-balcony.html?utm_source=BP_recent

revasrags2roses ford said...

Beautiful-thanks!
Reva

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

No, thank you so much for sharing! I'm heading over there right now! And I love the kosher joke, nicely done :D

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

Don't you just love it? I couldn't resist!

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

I completely understand! On my list today was allergy medicine, air conditioning in my car, and mint chocolate chip ice cream! Like you said, they all point to bigger, more significant things we are thankful for!

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

Definitely! That reminds me that my mom's birthday is tomorrow!

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

Thank you, Yi-chia! That's exactly how I felt. And BTW, I chose that photo because I look like I am joyfully laughing, but actually Sean had just hit my still tender nose ;)

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

I am such a pessimist too! And you are right, I certainly see a connection between the two- great point :)

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

I love the email idea- I actually have a co-worker and we do a similar thing! It helps you keep things in perspective :)


I am officially banning myself from buying any more bird prints! I just can't resist them! And I am right there with you in the arrow necklace- I have a couple but they aren't the sideways arrow and that's what I really want. I got the bracelet at Charming Charlie's- do y'all have those?

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

It's a great book, Crystal, and thank you for the kind words about the post. I am pleased to see it made you examine your life too. Like I said, I totally wrote it as a reminder for myself, but I figured other people might need a nudge too!

Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie said...

We all forget! I think that's just human nature. And every year I go through this phase of being really really grateful and then one bad thing will happen and it totally derails me, so I'm going to try to avoid that this year!

Sincerely Sammie said...

I think that with how busy life gets, sometimes I can forget to be grateful for all of the wonderful friends and family I have in my life. Thanks for the reminder. :)

http://www.sincerelysammie.com/

Gayna said...

Ah thanks for this! I have been so cranky this last week! For no real reason, just wallowing a bit! This post, this morning, while I drink my coffee on a precious day off, has given me a kick up the bum!! I am grateful for SO MUCH! In fact there is nothing in my life I am NOT grateful for! So here's to being grateful not grumpy!

Charlotte Issyvoo said...

Thanks. I see you've read some of my posts. Glad you enjoyed them.


sublimemercies.com

ashleigh said...

You make a good point. So often we "expect" and we don't give sincere thanks that is due to people. My Mother, Aunt, and Mother in Law are my rotating babysitters. Without them I couldn't work, I wouldn't have weekends free to be an adult, and I'd probably go insane. Time for a heart felt note thanking them. They don't HAVE to take care of my children, they choose too because they love them.
Also, you shirt is adorbs!
-ash
www.thestylizedwannabe.com

Amanda said...

My husband. I recently had major foot surgery, and he has taken care of me and our family of four (3 5-year olds and a 9-year old) like nothing I have ever witnessed. No complaints ... just complete TLC. Grateful and blessed.

Annie said...

Such a beautifully written post Katie. Thank you for the reminder, sometimes it's hard to remember to be grateful for all the wonderful and normal things in our lives :)

Annie

The Other Side of Gray

Feathers & Freckles said...

It's so easy to get caught up in desires and forget what we already have - even on a basic level. I am grateful for my health, and the health of those closest to me. Basically, the stuff money can't fix or buy!

grownandcurvywoman said...

This is such an awesome & inspiring post. Im extremely grateful for my family, friends and health. I know Im so blessed to have so much love in my life.

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