Kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. – Mother Teresa
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that in order to achieve contentment, one should “cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously.” Being grateful is the key to joy.
Wayne Dyer was a good example of this. His first words every morning were “Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou.” It was his way of expressing gratitude for the gift of another day.
When we focus on gratitude each day, we learn to see and become aware of everything we do have.
Expressing our gratitude towards others is also a gift. It actually strengthens relationships and relationships are the strongest predictors of happiness and coping with stress.It is a recognition that another person has instrumentally helped us and when we share this with each other, we expand our love and happiness.
“There is an old story of a waiter who asked a customer whether he had enjoyed the meal. The guest replied that everything was fine, but it would have been better if they had served more bread. The next day, when the man returned, the waiter doubled the amount of bread, giving him four slices instead of two, but still the man was not happy. The next day, the waiter doubled the bread again, without success.
On the fourth day, the waiter was really determined to make the man happy. And so he took a nine-foot-long (3-m) loaf of bread, cut it in half, and with a smile, served that to the customer. The waiter could scarcely wait for the man’s reaction.
After the meal, the man looked up and said, “Good as always. But I see you’re back to giving only two slices of bread.”
When we focus on what we do have, rather than on what we are lacking, we can shift our thoughts about every situation. Gratefulness encompasses more than thankfulness, it is a full response to a given moment and all it contains.