Why Is Giving Gratitude Important?

Giving gratitude is not only a great tool to feel better - it is also the step that completes the circle opened by receiving.

Let me explain what I mean with an example from my own life...

One afternoon, on my way to a bookshop in London, I saw a man who was selling 'The Big Issue' - a magazine sold by homeless people, which allows them to keep most of the profit.

Every now and then I give whomever I find selling the magazine a couple of pounds (the price of the magazine), though I usually don't take it.

As I was walking down the street, I saw one of these men and I stopped next to him to give him a couple of pounds. Only that I only had about 50p and a couple of notes (£5 and £10), and so I gave him the £5 note.

Most of the people selling this magazine get spare change from people if anything at all, or the £2 for the magazine. The reaction I get from most people I give money to is them giving gratitude, straight away; but this man grabbed the note quite anxiously more than grateful, whispered some words, and looked over me.

Now understand me, I'm not looking for gratitude - I know why I give money and the feeling I have when I give it in regards to their abundance and mine, and I'm fine with simply experiencing my feeling.

Besides, I don't know in which state of mind the man might have been. However, the transaction felt somehow 'incomplete'.

As I walked away thinking about it I remembered something that I had read a few weeks before: that Life is like a marvellous lady (or man, whatever you want to imagine), that only wants to give things to you - good experiences, love, wealth, nice people - everything that will make you happy and your life easy. The only thing that she asks for is gratitude.

Just like the experience with the man selling the magazine had felt 'incomplete' for me, so I thought that the lady giving me things could also feel the transaction as incomplete whenever I took things for granted, without giving gratitude.

I then imagined a nice generous lady, up in the sky, placing every day for me so many things for my convenience - my train on time, no queue at the coffee shop, the email that comes with the right words at the right time, the last box of the best incense at the shop.

I imagined her observing as I pick up the gifts. She doesn't need my gratitude, and she's going to keep on giving regardless, but I can give value to her act of giving by my actively receiving, which shows in my giving gratitude.

In the same way, whenever you notice all the things that work in your favour every day - from the little things to the big ones - you can just offer gratitude back to Life for all that you receive, and thus complete the circle of the transaction.

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."

William Arthur Ward

Back to Being Thankful

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...