We live in a world now where things happen very quickly. Gone are the days of trudging to the library to spend hours or even days researching the answer to a question. Now, just ask Google and you get your answer in 0.005 seconds.
Or, remember when you actually had to leave your house and travel across town to have a conversation with a friend? Now, people in the same room don’t even bother to look up from their phones to speak to each other.
These are all brilliant innovations that have made life much easier. But, what I’m finding to be a downside is, because life has become so convenient it has produced dangerous levels of entitlement in society.
Because things come to us fairly easily nowadays, it’s easy to miss what actually went into making it happen. The unintended side effect of this is, people have forgotten how to be grateful.
One of the first casualties of living with a sense of entitlement is gratitude. You simply stop being grateful for the good things in your life.
A good example comes to mind here. A few years ago when my son was about six years old, I noticed that whenever he received a gift he wouldn’t say thank you. He would simply accept the gift and immediately get busy with unwrapping it and then, enjoying it. He never said thank you unless he was prompted. Clearly, he saw the gifts as a right, rather than a privilege.
I could have dismissed it as him just being a child. But I could see how this attitude could very easily develop into a worse case of entitlement.
So, on one of such occasions, I sat him down and asked, “Why did you get that present?”
“Because it’s my birthday.” He replied.
“Wrong! Does it being your birthday actually guarantee you getting a present? Does every child get a present on their birthday?”
What I wanted him to see was very simple. Some parents would love to give to their children, but they can’t. Some parents can but they choose to withhold and maybe give abuse instead.
The fact that it was his birthday and he had a gift in his hand was simply as a result of the grace of God that put the desire in someone’s heart to be good to him and also God providing the resources for the person to be able to follow through.
“So, there are at least two people to thank,” I told him. The person who gave you the gift and God who made the provision.
Needless to say, my son got the message.
When you begin to see things from this perspective, you become quick to appreciate both the people and things in your life. You become grateful for every opportunity that comes your way. Yes, you worked all month to earn that salary, but there are people who are also willing to work for an income but don’t have the opportunity.
A lifestyle of gratitude goes way beyond simply saying “thank you” even though it’s a great place to start. Gratitude is a state of the heart that constantly overflows with an appreciation for the things and the people in your life.
Five Powerful Benefits of a Lifestyle of Gratitude
- You Become More Resilient
Tough times come to everyone. Sometimes, even daily. One of the best ways to ward off feelings of discouragement and depression is to intentionally count your blessings one by one and give thanks for them.
By looking for the good in your life, for what is working even in the face of immense pressure, and focusing your attention on those things, you create an atmosphere of joy and hope that will swallow up any feelings of despair.
- Your Prayer Life Will Be More Effective
Essentially, prayer brings the supernatural power of God into your situation. And for prayer to be effective, you need faith. But did you know that the entire process of faith is hinged on gratitude?
Faith is simply acknowledging that what God said he has given you is yours. And how do you do this? By giving thanks! As you wait for the manifestation of God’s promises to you, if you cultivate a habit of giving him thanks, doubt and fear will lose their grip and you’ll find it much easier to stand till the end.
- You Escape the Trap of Offence
When people hurt you, it is natural to feel bitter and perhaps even want to retaliate. But holding on to offense or bitterness is a trap. It does more harm to you than the person who hurt you. So, how do you let go and forgive?
Jesus gave a brilliant strategy in Matthew 5:44: “Do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you, and persecute you.” He didn’t say that just to be “nice.” It’s a spiritual principle. You can’t overcome evil with evil; you overcome evil with good!
The moment you begin to think about and be grateful for the good that person has brought into your life (even if it was one tiny thing twenty years ago!), you will literally feel the resentment melting away.
- Doors Open to Better & More Meaningful Relationships
A 2014 study showed that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship with you. People generally love to hang around those who appreciate and value them. Quite simply, being ungrateful and entitled shuts doors.
Boosts Your Psychological Health
Multiple studies have shown that a sense of gratitude is effective in increasing happiness and reducing depression.
Negative emotions like envy, resentment, bitterness, frustration, regret, etc produce toxins that attack the mind and the body.
Developing a habit of gratefulness for the little things helps you maintain a positive outlook and disengage from the destructive effect of negative emotions.