How Gratitude Works
“Thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G. K. Chesterton
I usually feel grateful when some kindness exceeds my expectations and catches me off guard. Like when a friend sends flowers just to let me know that she is thinking of me or my daughter gives me a hug “just because”.
These gestures don’t have to big or even expensive. Sometimes the smaller ones, like an unexpected note, are the most fulfilling.
Expectations play a big roll in setting my moods and emotions, none more so than the glorious emotion of gratitude. But expectations can sometimes backfire.
A case in point was when Eric and I were first dating and I was convinced that he was planning a surprise party for my birthday. So on the big day, instead of appreciating an evening of theater, dinner and dancing that he had planned, I kept expecting my friends to pop around the corner and yell “Surprise!”
The evening culminated in me bursting into tears and having to confess to a bewildered Eric what my expectations had been. At that moment, I felt like an ungrateful wrench. I had let my anticipation ruin a perfectly lovely evening.
A few years later, Prince Eric planned a surprise birthday party six weeks after my actual birthday. Friends at the party asked me if was I really surprised… “WHY YES!” I answered, overflowing with gratitude.
I would like to get to the point where I take nothing for granted, not a sunny day or a quick word of praise. Quieting the mind and just being in the moment will hopefully help me be more grateful.
People with grateful dispositions know one thing that others don’t. With all the foibles and ups and downs of everyday living, life won’t surpass their dreams but it will very nicely surpass their expectations.