We often think of gratitude as something we give to another as a thank you for a gift or a kind deed, an appreciation for someone’s presence in our lives. But why not allow ourselves to see it as a gift for ourselves, as well? Someone once said that love is the most selfish thing we can do for ourselves, meaning that we have the opportunity to get so much out it, receiving exponentially more in return than we give. And the same is true of gratitude. In the giving, we automatically receive tenfold and that is true grace.
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day rush of things we need to get done. We each have our lists of what we need to accomplish today, so that everything that throws us off our schedule becomes more than just an unexpected event but a challenge to our goals that we must battle into submission. The car cutting us off in traffic, the slow person checking out at the grocery store or the chatty neighbor who waylays us on our way to the house can either be hindrances or help depending on how we choose to experience them.
The car cutting you off and making you miss the light gives you those few extra minutes on your way to work to set intentions for the day and arrive energized and focused. The person taking his time at the grocery checkout allows you to strike up a conversation and make a connection. The neighbor who always wants to talk reminds us of the value of community when someone is willing to check on your house while you’re gone or loan you a lawn mower when yours goes out. Suddenly, the day that could have felt hassled and harried is a day full of small gifts and kindnesses- gifts that you gave yourself by being in gratitude.
The grace of gratitude is not a grace that we must ask to be bestowed upon us by some outside force. This kind of grace is an inside job and well within our power to grant to ourselves by allowing the goodness and richness of life in everything. This season, grace yourself with the gift of gratitude, and its effects will radiate out far beyond what you can see.