Today, because I am grateful that I can find something each day to be thankful for, and because I was curious about the concept of gratitude in general, I thought that I might share a bit about how gratitude is defined.
So taken from “Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life” and Robert Emmons, who actually uses science to define aspects of gratitude, I give you this:
Robert Emmons…argues that gratitude has two key components, which he describes in a Greater Good essay, “Why Gratitude Is Good.”
First, he writes, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.
In the second part of gratitude, he explains, we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. … We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.
Emmons, and other researchers, see the social dimension as being especially important to gratitude. I see it as a relationship-strengthening emotion, writes Emmons, because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.
Because gratitude encourages us not only to appreciate gifts but to repay them (or pay them forward), the sociologist Georg Simmel called it “the moral memory of mankind.”
You can read the entire article, if you are interested, at the link above. There is even a nifty little ‘gratitude quiz’ linked for you here, or at the end of the article.
Did you take the quiz? Want to share your score?
I got an 84, which apparently indicates that I am a very grateful person. Personally, I think I could do better, thus this month long exercise designed to make some improvements in my ability to be grateful, just once each day.
*Actually my gratitude today comes in the fact that others value my maturity and wisdom, and are willing to ask for and utilize some of the knowledge that I have managed to acquire simply by living and trying and failing and finding my own success.