Week 7: Gratitude

What is Gratitude?

Throughout this challenge we have looked at 6 ways of expressing Love. If you have been paying attention to the core essays, you will notice a trend in all of these expressions. Each one has a negative and positive expression. When we live in selfishness, we express Love negatively and enter greed, judgment, fear, hatred, loss and remorse. But if we are able to live in Gratitude, we find that all of the positive expressions of Love begin to manifest: Generosity, Compassion, Hope, Passion, Receiving and Joy.

It seems that the key to living in Love is maintaining a sense of Gratitude in your life. When we cultivate a sense of Gratitude we also spread our feelings of good will to others. Gratitude is a position that we take. When we see the world as being a gift, we are allowed to more freely appreciate that gift. If life is all about the experience and Love is created through positive connections, then Gratitude is truly essential. For without it we enter a stagnation, an unwillingness to move forward and a loss of Love. If selfishness is turning your focus inward in a negative way, Gratitude is turning your focus outward in a positive way.

The Idea of Love arrives when we Balance our Emotions with Gratitude.

Core Essay on Gratitude

This Weeks Challenge

Why is Gratitude so important? If we take a good, honest look at our lives, we will probably notice a common trend. It’s the “grass is always greener” syndrome that we all fall victim to. We get so caught up with what we don’t have that we very often fail to appreciate what we do have. Nearly every facet of our lives can be influenced by Gratitude, or the absence of it, in some respect. It’s far more effortless to wallow in self pity than it is to acknowledge our good qualities. It’s more “natural” to loathe our neighbour for their more expensive possessions than to appreciate our own abundances. It’s simpler to idealize would-be relationships than it is to see the value in the relationships we already have. It is always easier to yearn for something else than it is to be thankful for what we have. So, again, why is Gratitude so important? It’s important because acknowledging that this life has given us all that we need instead of focusing on what we think we should have is vital to being Balanced and Living in Love.

When we pause and begin to take notice and be grateful for the life we have chosen, because we have chosen it, we begin to see a life of abundance rather than a life of deficiency. The goal for this week, as it has been throughout, is to change your inner dialogue to one of Gratitude. You will accomplish this by reflecting on all of the ways you have begun to Balance your emotions so far in this challenge and being grateful for not only the changes you have made, but for your ability to make them in the first place.

The following examples are suggestions only. Feel free to incorporate as many of them into your daily life as you are able to, or create your own examples of Gratitude.

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The following challenge is split into six categories. Please complete each category and send an email with an essay describing how your week of Living in Gratitude has changed you. This essay can be anywhere from 500 to 1000 words and will become a post on this blog.

Gratitude from Generosity

To start, we will go back to week 1. Spreading gratitude through Generosity is easy enough. But this challenge is not so much about creating Gratitude in others. It is about fostering a sense Gratitude within you. For this week, take a look at your life and the opportunities you have had for Generosity. Take a look at your contributions for the Generosity week. Take some time to truly understand how lucky you are to be in a position to give of your excess. Be Grateful that you have an excess, of anything, to give. Often times we get caught up wishing we could give more. Imagine if you were unable to give what you can? Be Grateful for your life and the Generosity it allows, and write about it for me.

Gratitude from Compassion

Again, since Compassion is an outward expression, it is easy enough to spread Gratitude through acts of Compassion. But this weeks challenge will ask you to go a little deeper. This week we will look at the past traumas we have suffered and be Grateful for them. For without the abuses and suffering in our life, we would never be able to be the Compassionate people we are today. Compassion arrives when we realize that suffering is so unnecessary and that we do not wish others to feel what we have felt, or worse. If we did not suffer in some measure, then how could we be Compassionate. This week, write about how you are Grateful for the suffering in your life, because it has made you the strong and Compassionate person you are today.

Gratitude from Hope

When we Live in Hope, we always move towards our goals with positive action. This creates a sense of Gratitude most profoundly and should be our easiest section this week. Take some time to look at how your life has progressed and the actions you have taken that have created a sense of Hope. Be Grateful for the opportunities you have had and successes you have made. Remember the goals from your past that you achieved and transfer that feeling towards a continued sense of Hope for the future. Gratitude from Hope is one of the more obvious types, but it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves of how much we have to be Grateful for.

Gratitude from Passion

Our Passions are what fuel our desires and satisfy our soul. Without them we would have nothing to strive for. Nothing to work for. And nothing to live for. We are our Passions, in a most direct sense and they are what make us unique. Our equality comes from our ability to Love, yet our Passions are what make us special. This week, write about how Grateful you are for the time you have spent with your Passions during your life. Without this respite, we would truly have nothing to look forward to. What better cause for Gratitude?

Gratitude from Receiving

As we touched on during week 5 of this challenge, the art of Receiving is mastered only after we are able to graciously take a compliment. In Gratitude we see that we encourage others to continue treating us with Love. Without some show of appreciation, we can hardly expect our Receiving to continue. This week, I would like you to take the time to sit down and sincerely thank all of the people in your life, who have helped you to get to where you are. Let them know that without their Love, you would truly have nothing. And that is why you are so Grateful to them.

Gratitude from Joy

Finally, I would ask that you take some time this week and look to the Joyful moments in your life. Be Grateful for the fun times, the moments of pride and success. Appreciate the anticipation, the butterflies in your stomach right before a Joyful moment. Truly look back upon the last few weeks, months and years and reflect on how without those moments your life would be such a drag. We need Joy to keep us actively participating in life, and we need Gratitude to allow us to fully appreciate each Joyful moment to its fullest. By embracing the Joy, and being thankful for it, we only allow it to blossom. Before long, we find Joy and Gratitude in every moment.

Send Entries to awards@alternate-economy.com