Gratitude Is The Memory Of The Heart
Being grateful is more than an act of courtesy, it’s a way of crossing frontiers on an emotional, personal and emotional level. Why not be grateful for life and being a part of it? Why not recognize others for who they are, and for the qualities that cause us to love them?
Furthermore, why aren’t we grateful for ourselves? For our dedication, bravery and self improvement?
We know at times it’s not easy to dive in to what we call the “memory of the heart,” which is what Jean-Baptiste Massieu calls gratitude. Practically every day, people live anchored to a mindset that guides them down the more objective and rational path, where grudges and irritation also reside.
The simple act of being grateful, implies a sense of personal liberation. It means activty with humility and without artifices, and learning to value what’s truly important in life. Let’s talk about it; let’s jump into the value and the power of gratitude.
“Gratitude is the memory of the heart.”
— Jean-Baptiste Massieu
The 4 Pillars of Gratitude
1. Emotional Openness
Why is it that so many people find it challenging to say “thank you”? When we do something for the people around us, we “mandatorily” expect those thanks that show courtesy. What we’re really looking for is to be recognized; that the person understands how much we care, and that we’ve not only invested our time, but our emotions as well.
People that aren’t grateful tend to present the following characteristics:
- Emotional neglect: they avoid opening up to others and often act in a challenging or self-sufficient manner; when in truth, they lack self-esteem and are actually quite internally fragile.
- Selfishness: they act with a certain degree of selfishness, are ungrateful and sometimes even proud.
- Denial: Their lack of recognition for other people causes them to not even recognize their own efforts, and therefore are people that are highly lacking in emotional ability.
To practice gratitude, we must be capable of opening up emotionally. It’s the only way we can learn more about ourselves and others, with an honest, strong and active heart.
2. Gratitude and Recognition are Gifts
There aren’t many values that are as strong as recognizing the people around us through gratitude. It’s a universal form 0f appreciation and union, and of creating links. “I appreciate you for who you are, for your virtues, for your persnoality, and I thank you for being part of my life and enriching it with your presence.”
3. Being Grateful is Not Being Indebted
There are people that think that just because they received something and gave thanks to them for it, they’re immediately in debt to that person.
If you feel that sense of obligation to return the favor, you’re not practicing free, honest and spontaneous gratitude. Gratitude is an attitude that doesn’t push obligations, it’s a form of being that transcends all of our actions.
If you do something for your brother, or for your friend, you don’t mark an “x” in your calendar, expecting them to return the favor someday. You do it because you want to and because “you recognize” that person as a part of you, you’ve done it freely and without expecting anything in return.
That being said, even if we don’t expect something back, we do expect to be recognized. We form a bond between each other where we all form one entity. It’s almost like what the word “Namasté” means (I greet you, thank you and bow to the divinity in you, which also forms a part of me.)
4. The Importance of Personal Gratitude
We spend half of our lives thanking other people for things: our family’s dedication, our friend’s altruism, the affection of our partner or the recognition of the people that come and go from our lives, enriching it with their small acts of kindness as they do.
But, when was the last time you stopped to thank yourself? Do you think it’s a selfish and misaligned attitude? It’s not; not at all. Whether you’re religious, skeptical or spiritual, self-recognition crosses no boundaries; in fact, it’s a basic moral pillar needed to reinforce your self-esteem.
How about if, from this point on, we act in a more humble manner and value the simple things in life? Be thankful for that cool breeze that eases the summer heat, for that good decision you recently made. Be thankful for your family, and for your pet that gives you it’s undying love.
Simply be thankful for existing, for being well, for understanding that we’re not more than shooting stars that come and go, looking for a way to live their lives to the fullest. Why not?