Gratitude makes us happier
When we are afraid to express gratitude, we don’t want to reveal what has been done for us and so we don’t have to ‘pay back’ nor remember. Also perhaps we don’t want others to know so we don’t have to ‘pay’ back…..then eventually we become angry and bitter because we are not being honest and true to others and ourselves.. we will not feel good when we just take, take and not give. We need to give and take and take and give then there is a balance. Balance is the key.
Example: A student takes a lot from the teacher eg teachings, love, advice, materials, care, etc and that is in the beginning. Student ‘returns’ or ‘pays’ back the kindness of the teacher by transforming, overcoming fears, helping others and doing less vice and more positive activity for oneself and society. So by a student showing gratitude or anyone showing any gratitude, it is ultimately a training of the mind to overcome self-centricity. Gratitude has that type of effect on our mind. Teacher and student is just one example as it can be applied to many other relationships as well. Gratitude is not meant to remind you negatively how you took something, but a quality in the mind to be developed. To develop the mind to higher thoughts and modes of conduct.
When we express gratitude, then we return it to others and others feel good you remembered. Then others respect you. When they respect you, you feel good about yourself giving little space for anger, hatred and negativity to arise. When you feel good about yourself, little space for negativity to arise and do harm. You have nothing to hide, avoid or feel bad about when you express gratitude. Owing and gratitude are different. Owing is like a loan to the bank that you responsibly pay back. Gratitude is not being afraid to say you needed help, received it and will show the same to others. It is a positive state of mind to another sentient feeling being.
Showing gratitude is one of the best ways to not feel bad about what you received and to positively put you in a position you ‘have’ to give also. It makes you give to others due to the mind being cultivated into higher mode of thought and conduct not guilt. When you give, then you feel good because innately we want to help others. When others are benefitted by us, we innately and naturally feel good. Feeling good can escalate into doing even more for others and vice versa. It just continues. Showing gratitude is acknowledging others can do more than you at the moment and you needed love, help and that is it ok to receive this. It counters jealousy and pride. Big enemies that make our minds unhappy. It also tells us that we are not bad people for needing love and help. Also that when we are ‘better’ we will help others back. It is a good way to live.
It is important to show gratitude in a way that trains our minds and it lets other people know they are appreciated. That is important in mind training. To appreciate the care, help and love you have received is a very strong component of happiness.
Training in gratitude is good for those who are in a secular life and especially good for those developing spiritual qualities of higher attainments, compassion, bodhi mind, wisdom. All good things arise from proper and consistent development within the fundamentals of which gratitude is one of them.
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