True gratitude, I mean honest, from the heart gratitude is born from spontaneity. That’s not to say that well thought out plans of gratitude don’t hold value, it merely means that spontaneity relies on one factor, and that is your gut reaction to a visual stimulus. We see something or someone and feel emotionally drawn to help remedy the situation. Do we do this to be a hero? Do we do this to remind ourselves that we are not that bad off? What about doing this because we feel guilty? These questions come up when we try to plan gratitude. In planning gratitude, we tend to second guess ourselves, our intentions and what we think others may perceive our actions to be. We believe that the organic environment that exists with spontaneous gratitude is the most genuine.
Planning gratitude takes time, and our rule of thumb to get past overthinking it, is to always make sure your intentions are beneficial to the other party. It is OK to benefit yourself through gratitude, as long as that is not your first intention. Through years of practice, you can get yourself to a point where you can satisfy your needs through the gratitude of others. This takes planning, and the use of the “rule of three”. The rule of three, simply put, is to do three things that are beneficial to the person you are requesting something from; before you ask for what you need. In most cases, the person you are doing these three things for will offer to help you out of gratitude before you even have a chance to ask.
The key is to always put the other person first, don’t expect anything in return, and find joy in their happiness. The more gratitude you show to others, the more happiness and success will fill your life. In closing, I leave you with this:
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”- William Arthur Ward