[callout]With Thanksgiving right around the corner and Christmas quickly following, I thought I’d repost some important blogs about gratitude. Oh, how I wish more of us had beliefs that resulted in consistent thankfulness rather than circumstantial thankfulness! The ideas in the next four posts will be relevant to expressing gratitude during this season. [/callout]

Is living gratefully a choice? Is it different from being grateful?

To some extent, living gratefully is a choice. It’s rooted in certain thinking patterns, though. Without being exposed to those, would be hard (if not impossible) to be grateful consistently.

If we want children to be grateful, we need to be grateful. But, we shouldn’t assume they’ll figure out why we are grateful from just hearing us say “thank you” occasionally. They might adopt the pattern of saying it, but it will mean their gratefulness is rooted in circumstances instead of beliefs. If we talk about our beliefs and thinking patterns, there’s a greater likelihood they’ll adopt them. That’s powerful!

The thinking patterns are also essential if we’re going to live gratefully and not just be grateful when something occurs. Self-respect, self-control, and respect for others won’t be birthed by circumstantial gratitude. They will be birthed within children and adults who live gratefully.

What beliefs or thinking patterns that result in living gratefully would you add to this list? When we’re grateful:

  • We are more aware of what we have than what we don’t have, what we know than what we don’t know, where we’ve been than where we’d like to go, etc.
  • We acknowledge the differences between our wants and our needs.
  • We don’t compare ourselves and our things to others and decide whether to be grateful based on our comparison.
  • We know there’s more than material possessions to be grateful for. Many of us are first and foremost grateful for our relationship with God. We are also grateful for people to love and people who love us.
  • We are grateful our daily, practical needs are met. We don’t take it for granted or have an attitude of, “I deserve this.”
  • We are grateful for talents, strengths, challenges that mature us, and so much more.
  • We say “thank you” and do things to express gratitude without expecting anything in return.

Which is it for you? Are you living gratefully or being grateful? Neither? Any changes you want to make? Go for it!