Here’s what the Oxford Dictionaries online have to say about gratitude:
the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
And according to the Thesaurus, some synonyms are:
I agree with all of those. The Thesaurus also includes a few terms as synonyms that I’m not so sure about.
And oddly enough, when a quick check of its listing of synonyms for obligation reveals gratitude isn’t among them!
So, like many emotions, it seems there can be differing opinions of what exactly it is. Today we share some quotes about gratitude from famous people in differing walks of life. I particularly like this one by John F. Kennedy.
Just as he suggests, let’s not just utter words, but live by them!
Since 1000 Voices is all about compassion, I love this quote about gratitude from the Dalai Lama:
Now there are many, many people in the world, but relatively few with whom we interact, and even fewer who cause us problems. So when you come across such a chance for practicing patience and tolerance, you should treat it with gratitude. It is rare. Just as having unexpectedly found a treasure in your own house, you should be happy and grateful toward your enemy for providing you that precious opportunity. Because if you are ever to be successful in your practice of patience and tolerance, which are critical factors in counteracting negative emotions, it is due to your own efforts and also the opportunity provided by your enemy.
This one is from writer Alice Walker:
‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.
Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche:
The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.
I particularly love second part of what novelist G. K. Chesterton says here:
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
From author, poet and spiritual coach, Stephen Levine:
Gratitude is the state of mind of thankfulness. As it is cultivated, we experience an increase in our “sympathetic joy,” our happiness at another’s happiness. Just as in the cultivation of compassion, we may feel the pain of others, so we may begin to feel their joy as well. And it doesn’t stop there.
I agree with Levine – what he describes has been my experience. The more I cultivate thankfulness, the easier it is to enjoy other people’s gratitude too. It seems hard to believe now, but looking back I can remember feeling annoyed at witnessing others’ gratitude. So there’s no doubt that gratitude is good for us, not just for the people we feel it towards!
A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh books were often a source of wisdom for me when my children were little.
Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.
I’m going to end with a quote from a character in my teenage daughter’s favorite detective show, Castle. My daughter has this quote pinned to her wardrobe door and it’s a great remind that we don’t need to hunt for wisdom, it’s right there in everything we do.
Even on the worst days, there is the possibility for joy.
This month, 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion continues to work toward a better world with a particular focus on GRATITUDE, as well as the broader topic of compassion.
Write a post relevant to this month’s focus – GRATITUDE – and add it to the link-up right here by clicking the blue button below. We also welcome posts on any aspect of COMPASSION, and this month we particularly welcome posts on your vision for the world or feelings of compassion after on the attacks in Paris, Beirut and elsewhere.
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