Most of us have known grateful people and people who are less than grateful for the things in their lives.
Meeting those polar personalities can make you wonder what daily habits make you grateful in the first place? It also might make you think, “How can I avoid a lack of gratitude?” No one wants to be bitter, angry, resentful, or lonely, but a pattern of harmful habits is what creates that type of personality.
The good news is that we can unlearn bad habits and replace them with good ones to be more grateful for the things we have each day. Let’s look at some of the positive behaviors you can incorporate to avoid an “attitude of ingratitude.”
These Habits, Practiced Often Can Make You A More Grateful Person
A habit is something that you repeatedly spend time doing, and breaking them can be tricky. It is easier to add another new practice than to eliminate a bad one, so start building habits of gratitude right away. Eventually, old negative habits will disappear as they are replaced by the good feelings that grateful practices give you.
1 – Grateful People Accept Responsibility for Their Happiness
You are only a victim if you let yourself be victimized. If you are in a situation that makes you unhappy, recognize that you have the power to move, act, and stand up for yourself. Say to yourself, ‘If I am unhappy, I can choose to go away from this person or situation.’
If you choose to stay with someone who makes you unhappy or in a place that makes you sad, you have decided that this is what is best for you right now. Deciding that not acting is what is best for you is like saying that you are grateful for the experience of knowing what you dislike so that you know better what you do like and can choose to find more of that in the future.
2 – Grateful People Turn Vulnerability Into Strength
We all have strengths and weaknesses about our personalities. Of course, we want to build on our strengths and learn from our shortcomings but realize what a gift your vulnerabilities are.
Brene Brown writes in her book:
Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”
Admit your faults to others and ask for help to improve on them. Let them see that you are not perfect but that you know how to use your imperfections to become a better person. You would never blame someone else for your flaws because you wouldn’t be the complete person you are today without them.
3 – Make Meaningful Connections With Other People
Gratitude is an attitude of being thankful for the life experiences that you have received and the lessons learned from them. Sharing these experiences with others helps us solidify the lessons we have received and hear the life lessons that others have received.
Researchers studying gratitude found that it was associated with positive mood, good social connections, well-being, and spiritual connectedness. Brene Brown says ‘I define connection as the energy between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.’
4 – Grateful People Serve the Community
A hospital, a homeless shelter, a community food bank; there are opportunities for you to experience what it is like to live with far less than you now have and everything that should make you grateful. Seeing the disparity between what you have and what others live without is one way to avoid the habits that make people ungrateful.
5 – Keep a Log of Whey They Are Grateful
Researchers looked at the effect of a grateful outlook on psychological and physical well-being. They found that a conscious focus on blessings by writing them down may have emotional and interpersonal benefits. Participants were told, ‘There are many things in our lives, both large and small, that we might be grateful about. Think back over the past week and write down on the lines below up to five things in your life that you are grateful or thankful for.
Participants in the study gave the following examples of gratitude-inducing experiences:
- waking up this morning
- the generosity of friends
- to God for giving me determination
- for wonderful parents
- to the Lord for just another day
- to the Rolling Stones
As another example of how you might do this at home, the author’s successful sister keeps a gratitude jar on her counter and makes a habit of writing several things she is grateful for each day on slips of paper. The jar is opened the next New Year’s Day and she spends time celebrating the previous year’s blessings.
6 – Realize Good Things Don’t Always Happen to Good People
In a perfect world, those who do good would have good things happen to them. However, life isn’t always fair. It would help if you learned to stop thinking that you’re owed anything, as it can help to change your attitude.
Consider the people suffering from cancer or other major illness and those who have been through hurricanes, tornadoes, and other acts of God. These unsuspecting people were victims of circumstance. The Bible states in Matthew 5:45 that it rains on the just and the unjust, which means time and chance happen to everyone.
Learn to be grateful for your blessings, that you were spared from some heartache, and don’t think the Universe owes you a thing. When you develop this mindset, your gratitude will increase.
7 – Don’t Set Preconditions to Your Happiness
It’s a trap to think that you will be happy and content if you get this new job or an excellent new partner. Why do so many people put conditions on their happiness? You must understand that true bliss comes from within, not from external successes.
A gracious person doesn’t try to control every aspect of their lives, as they realize that it’s just not possible.
8 – Grateful People Realize There’s No Rainbow Without the Rain
Have you ever looked outside when it’s raining to see if you see a rainbow? For this natural phenomenon to occur, there must be some sun shining through the dark clouds. Without the rain, there couldn’t be a rainbow, and without the storms in your life, there would be no growth.
Realize that the storms are as much a part of life as the sunshine. Learn to admire and savor everything that happens in life, as there’s always some good with the bad.
9 – No Matter What Happens, Know That Hope Is Not Lost
Grateful people keep their hope no matter what comes their way. They know that everyone’s future is uncertain, and some things are just beyond their sphere of influence.
Realize and have faith that there’s more to life than your circumstances. Even in a stormy season, you can learn to dance and be joyful.
10 – Grateful People pardon Others for Not Being What You Hoped
Why is forgiveness so hard? You know you need to forgive so that you can be forgiven when things happen to you. Consequently, have you ever considered forgiving folks for not being what you expect from them?
This is a hard concept to grasp, but it’s not uncommon to set high expectations of one another. When someone doesn’t act how you think they should, it’s easy for bitterness to creep into your heart. Carrying resentment is like grabbing a lump of hot coal from the fire to toss it at someone, but the problem is you’re the individual who gets burned. Gratitude teaches you that you’re not perfect, so you can’t expect it of others.