“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” – Malcolm Forbes
“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are steep and hurt and resentful. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of complaint. I can choose to be grateful when I am criticized, even when my heart responds in bitterness… I can choose to listen to the voices that forgive and to look at the faces that smile, even while I still hear words of revenge and see grimaces of hatred.” Henri Nouwen
I like that one because of the focus on gratitude as an intentional activity. People tend not to realize that complaining is a choice. Complaining in groups can start a downward spiral as each person expresses points of view that others in the group may not have thought about yet. It is possible to reverse this spiral by focusing on reframing in a different light. Yes, the situation is bad. But how can we think about it in a way that keeps us from feeling like the victims of the situation. How can we take back control for our own responses?
Here’s one I especially like:
“Gratitude is the moral memory of mankind.” Georg Simmel
I got some of these from writing by Robert A Emmons. Dr. Emmons is a leading researcher in the psychology of gratitude. Check out his research program. He has just published a book for the general public called Thanks! How the new science of gratitude can make you happier.
He also has a chapter called “Acts of Gratitude in Organizations,” in the book, Positive Organizational Scholarship.
Dr. Emmons is one of the people I cited in my recent Positive Psychology News Daily article on intentionally practicing gratitude as a means of becoming happier at work.
Sometimes people get tangled up worrying about gratitude that other people should be feeling toward them. For them — and really for all of us — the next quotation is a good reminder. One thing to think about people who fail to feel and express gratitude: they are missing opportunities to be happier themselves. That’s why we do our children a favor when we help them form habits of saying “Thank you!” as soon as they can speak.
“Act with kindness, but do not expect gratitude.” Confucius