Debunking Myths about Gratitude
Developing an attitude of gratitude is something that can be started early in small ways and then developed as a child grows. Even young children can learn to be thankful for the many daily experiences they encounter. Gratitude involves learning to be first aware and secondly to frame the situation in a positive way.
There are three common myths about gratitude that often interfere with practicing it. Let’s debunk these myths:
- Gratitude should be spontaneous and flow naturally – While it is awesome when we naturally experience and express gratitude, it is more important that a spirit of thankfulness be built into the fabric of our daily lives. Think of gratitude as an important aspect of one’s character and daily routine rather than something to be practiced only at certain times during the year. Once the habit is established it is even more likely to to appear spontaneously.
- Gratitude is determined by your circumstances – Everyone can be grateful, no matter their age, financial circumstances or lifestyle. There is always something to be grateful for if one adopts a thankful perspective. This is true even in times of crisis or tragedy. In fact, an attitude of gratitude often helps individuals cope with the most difficult of situations. Help children change their perspective from things happening to them — to things happening for them– and finally things happening through them. The latter involves taking ownership and making the most of every situation.
- Gratitude only benefits the receiver – Being grateful for a gift or a holiday meal certainly helps the giver feel appreciated but the benefits of being grateful predominately enrich the lives those who are grateful. In fact, research has shown that those who regularly practice gratitude experience more joy and happiness in their lives even in tough times. This is one reason why children need to practice gratitude on a regular basis in order to learn the benefits.
Developing an attitude of gratitude challenges us to take a positive perspective and develops children as well as adults of compassion and character.