Practicing Gratitude Helps Build and Strengthen Resilience
Many people view gratitude as an appreciation for something received, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. It’s a “thank you” for a gift, a kind gesture, an acknowledgement, a sacrifice, a dream manifested, or an ending. It’s typically understood as a feeling behind receiving something tangible or intangible.
I was taught as a child to be grateful for the food on my plate because of all the starving children in the world who didn’t have a meal. However, it was almost impossible to be grateful for undercooked Brussels sprouts and overcooked pork chops staring me in the face, as I gulped down tasteless whole pieces of food with milk, motivated by guilt and only grateful the food didn’t come back up! It was challenging to appreciate having food, especially when it wasn’t appealing, and made me question gratitude as a feeling at a very young age.
So how does gratitude shape who we become? We have to start by redefining what gratitude is.
Gratitude has more to do with a state of being than a state of receiving.
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What is Gratitude?
Over time I realized gratitude has more to do with a state of being than a state of receiving. Being in a state of gratitude is vastly different than being grateful for something or someone.
Gratitude is one of those non-linear words that doesn't easily fit into a box without spilling over into other dimensions. It is fluid and changes with life experience. Being grateful for something received doesn’t necessarily initiate happiness or the ability to withstand difficulty. It can simply be a momentary feeling and not a life-sustaining seed.
A state of gratitude is the culmination of gratefulness seeds planted, growing into deep roots. Gratitude “roots” stretch down to our essence and endure the winds of change. These deep roots harvest resilience.
There is a balance that occurs in our life when we invite gratitude in. Self-gratitude can be a foreign object, and yet it is the center of where gratitude begins. How can we be in balance if we are not grateful for the soul we see in the mirror? Practicing self-love is at the core of gratitude.
What is Resilience?
We are born resilient and are often reminded of our innate gifts when confronted with extreme challenges. Resilience is our ability to overcome obstacles from the dark shadows of pain and self-imposed barriers of fear.
Although we are born with resilience, it is important to strengthen it like a muscle. One of the greatest ways to measure resilience is to understand our relationship to fear. Fear stands for False. Evidence. Appearing. Real. When we are able to observe fear, to witness it and even have compassion for it rather than resist it, we are changing our relationship to fear.
This is resilience in action and the realization that we are more powerful than our circumstances. We become aware of our resilience when fear seems less convincing than what it once appeared to be. When we are the witness, not the victim and don’t collapse under the weight of challenges, we are strengthening our resilience.
Resilience is when we have been asked to bear darkness without losing hope of light to come. It is when we are asked to find comfort in the discomfort of not knowing how life will turn out, and not understanding life in order for it to work in perfect synchronicity. It is when we have been asked to trust in our heart wisdom when we are gripped and terrorized by fear. This is when we know we are on the path to self-realization.
Resilience is the power claimed by our hearts, which creates the wings to fly while we learn to ride the currents, trust our vision, and leap into the unknown.
How can gratitude affect perspective?
Changing our perspective changes our perception. How we perceive the world and our experiences will greatly affect our perspective. When gratitude is a state of being, our perspective paves the way to acceptance, heart intelligence, and wisdom. Our eyes see a kinder, gentler world and, in return, an inner glow can be seen and felt by others.
Our perspective alters at the first sign of gratitude because gratitude heals our deepest wounds and transforms the whole of humanity. The humbleness of realizing and integrating life’s lessons can take us into true brilliancy, and that illumination expands our perspective in patience, non-judgment, benevolence, and resolve found only in our hearts.
Gratitude helps overcome so-called “failure”
Failure is the emotional outcome from experiencing unfulfilled expectations, whether derived from self or others. Failure is our hard-wired expectation that we are not good enough, smart enough, or lovable. Failure comes from our unconscious sabotaging patterns in which we choose to believe darkness is more powerful than light.
In this false reality, we have not yet broken our self-imposed barriers of fear, whether from within our consciousness or from external circumstances. However, gratitude softens the perspective of failure. Gratitude turns failure into forgiveness, and forgiveness changes the constellation of our energetic frequency.
Gratitude softens the perspective of failure. It turns failure into forgiveness, and forgiveness changes the constellation of our energetic frequency.
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When we remove our judgment of what is perceived as failure, we witness our “non-desired outcomes” as lessons. Finding little nuggets of gratitude when we are in the midst of disappointment is like sprinkling water on seeds of joy, knowing that joyful moments are on their way. Having gratitude for life’s scratchier moments shows us who we truly are. Gratitude for lessons learned is the bridge to wisdom and grace.
Gratitude provides independence from judgment and criticism of others
Being in a state of gratitude creates the vibrational frequency that matches the environment to respond with similar experiences. Generating more feelings of gratitude will bring more joyful experiences. Of course the same is true when we have a fear of rejection or are deeply hurt by criticism from others. We are always given experiences to match our vibrational frequency because all life is energy (and “non” life), therefore the power of free will is in choosing our state of being.
Gratitude builds a positive vibrational barrier, protecting one’s current state of being from harsh criticism. How? Gratitude is the direct path to happiness and, when we are in a state of joy and understand we are free to choose how we want to feel at any given time, the words of others no longer hold power.
Why is gratitude important?
Effects of gratitude
We are made of 50 trillion cells in our body. Each cell acts as an antenna broadcasting out to the field of the collective consciousness how we perceive the world, and how it responds in return.
Gratitude makes us healthier
Gratitude releases stagnant energy, decreases stress, shifts negative thoughts, and improves our immune system. Gratitude creates the opening for being better than our current circumstances, regardless of having physical, emotional, or spiritual discomforts.
Remember, our cellular structure works in harmony with an optimum state of health. Gratitude is one of the foundations to creating a healthy inner environment, and resilience is the platform for bridging it with the external world. There is abundant freedom in building a strong resilience “muscle” because it builds everlasting well-being.
3 Keys To Remember
- No matter how unsolvable an issue appears to be, building the resilience muscle through gratitude helps overcome obstacles.
- Being in a state of gratitude for all of life’s lessons is the direct path to joy.
- We are greater and more powerful than our circumstances.
For more perspectives on gratitude and resilience, check out this article published on Thrive Global, How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You More Resilient.
Read next on our blog: How Our Experiences Shape Who We Are