Why is being grateful important?
In our first part of the seven part series on gratitude, we explored what gratitude is. We know the definition of the word is the quality of being thankful, but for this series we are taking the meaning a little bit further. Gratitude is mindful appreciation. When we can take time to be mindfully appreciative, we build a deeper connection within ourselves.
Today I want to talk about why being grateful is important. To be honest, just that sentence made my skin crawl. I think gratefulness has a taboo of entitlement attached to it. Parents think their children should be grateful for the life they’ve provided. Some banks might make their customers feel grateful for lending them money when no one else would. And charge those customers fees they can’t rightly afford. Or if you’re in a relationship with an asshole, maybe he’ll tell you you should be grateful he looked at you in the first place.With these negative associations with the word grateful, it is easy to want to steer clear of it.
So when I talk about being grateful, please understand it is not to let someone take advantage, but to allow you to have the courage and self confidence to remove yourself from toxic situations and people. When you have a practice of gratitude, it builds a safe space, or something that feels like inner peace.You are not reacting out a place of fear. When you express yourself from that safe space within, you are better heard, and better validated.
It is important to have a safe space or that general sense of inner peace because that is where resiliency lies. Resiliency is your ability to stay steady, and happy when life throws you an unexpected curve ball. Resiliency is the basis of your patronus.
Ah! You said Patronus again! Let’s talk about that some more!
We are getting there! If you’ve read a book, you probably know about Harry Potter, and how in Harry Potter they have patronuses. A Patronus is a ghost-like apparition that usually takes shape of a “spirit animal”, and appears when called in times of strife (though they have also been used to communicate messages and lead heros from their path, but I am nerding out. Please pardon my digression) through the spell “Expecto Patronum”. The purpose of the patronus is to scare off dementors, nasty demon-like soul suckers who feed on happiness.
To call your patronus, in addition to the spell, you must also summon your happiest memory to use it as a shield against the dementors.
Do you see the comparison? If we can create a safe space inside ourselves through the practice of gratitude, then we can use that safe space to protect us when soul sucking demons cross our paths!
Wow, I totally nerded out here. Let me see if I can make this less Harry Potter-centric.
Practicing gratitude is like keeping a flashlight on at all times. Sometimes the lights will go out when you least expect it. Gratitude will shine through the dark, and help guide your way.
There are of course, other benefits to practicing gratitude and we’ll talk about those with a little more depth in part three of this seven day series on gratitude. If you would like weekly updates on this series and other cool things, please join my email list by clicking this link.
Thank you for being here today, and Expecto Patronum!