I recently read a profound definition of gratitude that really resonated with something deep within me: “Gratitude is an unconditional love for life.” Doesn’t that just ring with truth? Think about someone who you love unconditionally—a parent, a spouse, a child, or a friend. When you call up an image of this person in your mind’s eye, you feel an instant warmth (the warmth of love) and you know that there is nothing that person could do that could ever change your love for them. When we take on a mindset of gratitude, we are professing our unconditional love of life. We are committing ourselves to a vision of life that accentuates the positive, much the same way that we choose to look for the good in people whom we love. We look past the flaws and choose instead to dwell on what brings us joy.
- People you rely on.
Who are the people who make up your inner circle? I’m not talking about just your friends and family but all of the people who you see on a daily basis, the people who you can count on for something day in and day out. Maybe it’s something you’ve started to take for granted– a hug from your child or a kiss goodbye from your spouse. Perhaps it’s something as seemingly inconsequential as a smile from a coworker. Close your eyes and think about waking up one morning and realizing that all of those things are gone.
- People who rely on you.
If you’re like most of us, your life is crazy busy. You’ve got so many things to do and so many people who are counting on you to do them. But what if they weren’t? Isn’t it far better to be needed?
- The freedom to choose.
Sometimes, we feel stuck in situations and think we’re powerless to change them. But that’s just an illusion. The reality is that we do have a choice. If we don’t like where we live, we can move. If we don’t like our jobs, we can quit. It may take a lot of work and a lot of time, but it is possible. And when all else fails, we have the freedom to change our minds about the situation.
- The opportunity to meet new people.
Every one of us is unique, and every one of us has something powerful to offer the world. As social creatures, we have the amazing ability to interact with and learn from one another. Every time you meet a new person, you can look forward to the gift or lesson that he or she will bring into your life.
- Your senses.
There are so many ways that we can take in the world, and each of them are equally amazing. Recall the last sunset you witnessed. The smell of apple pie.The sound of a lone bird chirping outside your window. The gentle touch of someone you love.
Life can deal us some hard blows, and when it does, it’s easy to see the world through a tinted lens. Just remember, there is always something to be grateful for when you love life unconditionally. What are you grateful for right now?