Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gratitude and Deprivation

Why does it take being deprived of something to make us appreciate it? I've been pondering this question lately. For example, I routinely get a good night's sleep, but when I have a bad night of sleeping, I suddenly become thankful for all those good nights. Another example. It's been raining in Connecticut for the past two days and I'm thinking back with gratitude about the string of sunny, warm days last week. Must gratitude depend on deprivation?

I recognize that that it is "human nature" to take the good things of life for granted. Yet, this is a part of my human nature I am striving to overcome. I want to be thankful for the multitude of gifts that are part of my daily routine: enough food to eat, a roof over my head, satisfying work, opportunities for recreation, good health, and a good night's sleep.

The key to cutting the tie between gratitude and deprivation is to work at being continually thankful for the routine gifts of life. This involves a shift of attitude and focus toward the goal of giving thanks throughout each day. Here are some practical suggestions. When you awake, lay in bed for a few minutes giving thanks for a full night's sleep. When you eat a meal, offer a silent or spoken grace for it. When you take a bath or shower, offer thanks for the gift of water. And the list goes on and on.

Naming the gifts we continually receive is a way of giving rise to gratitude without having to be deprived of something. Nothing good in life need be taken for grante

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