In a professional conversation this week (...Okay I was again in an education Twitter chat, those PDs are addictive!) the idea of gratitude came up. I quickly Googled where this word came from and got a pretty good 'quick Google' idea:
1. Gratitude should be pleasing. It should satisfy both the giver and receiver of the gratitude in the area of belonging to a tribe that wants and appreciates its members. It should not feel strained or contrived as this is not pleasing to anyone. Personally, I need to show gratitude more often and try to push the thought of "that's what they are supposed to do as ____" out of my mind. I'm blessed to be surrounded with a great family and awesome co-workers and need to let them know early and often in our interactions.
2. Where'd the "T" go and why the "G"? Gratitude is attitude with a "G" added, but you drop a "T". Why? I'm no etymologist and a series of Google searches produced nothing. Does it have to do with the fact that attitude's origins lie in physical attributes (posture and fitness) while gratitude lies in the mental facilities of being thankful? I'm not sure ... I said things jumped out, but I didn't say I knew why :)
3. We sure don't mention/use gratitude nearly as much as we used to! Looking at that trend chart at the bottom of the gratitude reference we have greatly reduced our use of the word, and probably the expression of gratitude in our society. Why? Is it attributed to consumerism? That really didn't take effect until the mid 20th century so why the 200+ year downward trend? Is it attributed to self-serving expectations? If so we need to hold a mirror up to ourselves and see why self is more important than our communities/tribes. It is hopeful that there seems to be an upward tick in our use of gratitude, hopefully we are seeing its need more.
When we take a step back and reflect, we must remember that our profession or life is not a feat to solely take on ourselves, rather, it's a communal effort to improve our own lives and those of others. Ultimately, gratitude must come with grace. It must be consciously practiced and possibly planned into your day (I have committed to putting "Show gratitude/thankfulness to _____" on my Google Calendar so I'm deliberate in my efforts) and become a shift in your thinking. I have gratitude for anyone who reads this post and plans random acts of gratitude into their lives beyond the 'holiday' reminders and expectations of this week. How will you explore and show gratitude more often?