Virtues/Gratitude

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Introduction[edit]

Gratitude is the virtue of rejoicing in what is. It is expressing the feeling of joy we get from all that brings us joy. It is the opposite of regret, which is a feeling of sadness for what is, and of nostalgia, which aches for a past which is now gone.[1]

Gratitude is an effective antidote to many destructive emotions. You can't be hateful when you're grateful!

Only you can decide to be grateful, it is an expression of your autonomy. [2]

The Virtue of Gratitude[edit]

When you are grateful, it is impossible to also be hateful, angry, or fearful. [3] Gratitude cannot be requested, demanded, or coerced, it can only be given. It is a gift, not an exchange. [4]

Gratitude is a virtue because we chose to celebrate, rather than to resent, what is.

The Greek philosopher Cicero declared: "Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues but the parent of all others."

Everyday Gratitude[edit]

Begin by saying “thank you” to those who show you kindness. In addition, welcome awe into your life, savor it, and enjoy acknowledging it. Practice the virtue of gratitude everyday as you count your blessings:

  • Breathing in and breathing out.
  • The sunrise, the sunset, the moonrise, and the stars in the sky.
  • Blue skies, puffy clouds, gentle rains, snow, and other fascinating weather.
  • Music, art, humor, and all that is beautiful.
  • Running, jumping, singing, dancing, and all that is fun.
  • Forests, meadows, mountains, beaches, and all the beauty of nature.
  • Family, friends and others who love you, and who you love.
  • Laughter and a sense of humor.
  • The hammock, indoor plumbing, lights, air conditioning, and a roof over my head.
  • Good health, fitness, mental acuity, literacy, memory, curiosity.
  • Fresh water, food to eat, and a warm quiet place to sleep.
  • Rainbows and song birds.
  • Chocolate, apples, oranges, and cherries.
  • Literacy and the local library.

For more inspiration, visit the everyday gratitude site.

Because many 12-step programs recognize the virtues of "an attitude of gratitude" many resources are available. A search for: 12-step program gratitude will identify many gratitude-related resources.

Assignment[edit]

Part 1: Gratitude Visit – Recall someone who was kind to you but who you never properly thanked. Write out a one-page note thanking them in depth. Visit that person and read the entire note to them. [5]

Part 2: What Went Well (Three Blessings) – Every night for the next week, set aside ten minutes before going to sleep. Write down three things that went well today and why then went well. [6]

References[edit]

  1. Comte-Sponville, André (2002). A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues: The Uses of Philosophy in Everyday Life. Picador. pp. 368. ISBN 978-0805045567. 
  2. Ryan, M. J. (1999). Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life. Mjf Books. pp. 180. ISBN 978-1567313727. 
  3. Ryan, M. J. (1999). Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life. Mjf Books. pp. 180. ISBN 978-1567313727. 
  4. Comte-Sponville, André (2002). A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues: The Uses of Philosophy in Everyday Life. Picador. pp. 368. ISBN 978-0805045567. 
  5. Seligman, Martin E. P. (2011). Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being. Free Press. pp. 368. ISBN 978-1439190753. 
  6. Seligman, Martin E. P. (2011). Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being. Free Press. pp. 368. ISBN 978-1439190753. 

Further Reading[edit]

Students interested in learning more about gratitude may be interested in the following materials:

  • Ryan, M. J. (1999). Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life. Mjf Books. pp. 180. ISBN 978-1567313727. 
  • Seligman, Martin E. P. (2011). Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being. Free Press. pp. 368. ISBN 978-1439190753.