I sat across from him with a full heart. We had met for a quick meal and conversation, yet in that short time I was filled with contentment and joy.
Because he was grateful.
It’s funny how his gratitude filled my heart, yet that is what happened.
His gratefulness increased my gratefulness.
Turns out science agrees with my experience. Gratitude affects almost every aspect of our lives, and invites others to do the same (https://research.com/education/scientific-benefits-of-gratitude).
His gratitude came from sitting in the moment and intentionally drinking it in. He welcomed it, he articulated it, and his body language received and expressed it.
He made statements like, “I am choosing to sit here and receive that,” or “That makes my heart so happy.”
He sat square to me, open shoulders, open hands that moved with the occasional gesture, and a warm expression as he spoke and listened.
Everything he did invited me to share in gratitude. He made it easy to be grateful.
He helped me understand that gratitude, if chosen at the individual level, becomes a communal experience.
As I left that conversation, I couldn’t help but compare it with another recent experience. The contrast was striking.
In truth, I wouldn’t have called the other leader ungrateful until after I had this conversation with a truly grateful leader.
The ungrateful leader would likely never say they were ungrateful.
Yet they were.
Their focus was not on what was currently happening or what was in front of them, but on the things they didn’t have.
They yearned for things to “get better” and bemoaned the fact that there were so many obstacles in their way.
Their conversation was peppered with statements like, “If only…” and “I wish…” and not once was there an acknowledgement of the positive in the here and now.
Yet, they were highly blessed in their position, temporal things, health, mental capacity, and opportunities.
Gratitude is an awareness of what we currently hold and have access to.
We can choose to be aware of our blessings while we have them, or let the awareness of how blessed we were smack us in the face when they are removed.
Gratitude causes enjoyment.
Taking things for granted causes regret.
Hindsight brings enjoyment or remorse. We choose which one it brings.
Leader, how you choose to be grateful (or not) influences the gratitude of others around you.
Gratitude starts with the individual and affects the community.
Be WITH your blessings now and the contentment of full enjoyment will stay forever, regardless of whether the blessings remain or not.