The Circle that is Gratitude

With everything going on in the world right now, I’ve held back from blogging. I’d planned to write on word count—which I’ll do eventually—but it didn’t seem like an appropriate topic during such critical times. I’m also not the right person to discuss something as major as the issues the whole nation and globe is tackling. Sure, I live with stereotypes as a disabled person every day, but it’s nothing compared to the recent and past atrocities that have been committed to the black community.

A subject that’s near to my heart and that I feel I can consider is gratitude—a quality we need to develop in good times, but especially during trials. Stay with me on this, now. I’m not at all saying those of us with easier lives just need to be grateful for that, nor am I suggesting those with hard lives simply need to appreciate the little they have. Rather, I hope to help those who read this to see that gratitude isn’t the inactive verb grammar defines it to be; it’s an active attribute that can spawn a cycle that encompasses so many more lives than one can imagine.

Allow me to share my own experience with gratitude. I didn’t realize the part gratitude had played in my life until several years ago. Known for my positive spirit, I began to contemplate why I’ve been able to maintain that, for the most part, amidst my challenges. My Bible-based faith in a better future was the biggest reason I found, but gratitude was the runner-up to that. I remember looking around the waiting room at doctors’ visits, and from a very early age, I’d notice the kids who had such more debilitating conditions than I did. Even as young as I was, I learned to appreciate what I could do instead of focusing and moaning about what I couldn’t.

Like I said, that mentality greatly benefitted my attitude for my whole life to this day. More than that, though, it’s impacted the way I treat others. While I haven’t had many opportunities to reach out to handicapped people like the ones I saw in passing, I make myself available to anyone I can help despite my limitations. I’ve been so blessed with my family and friends, and there’s no way I can sit by and never do my part to improve someone’s day, at the very least. Even if another person can do that deed quicker or with more ease than I can, I still want to try.

Needless to say, then, I get pretty disgusted when others show a lack of gratitude. Why? Because that, too, impacts one’s entire life. It may start with the failure to say ‘thank you’ as a kid, but it manifests itself in many other ways. People who aren’t appreciative can never get enough from others, and thus, those who have the most to be grateful for often appreciate it the least…from my experience, anyhow. This takes a toll on their relationships, as they aren’t typically inspired to show generosity, either. All the kindness that’s displayed to them remains with them, creating nothing but a flat line.

Whatever your circumstances are, then, find reasons to be grateful and ways to show it that go beyond—but still include!—saying ‘thank you.’ More importantly, remember those reasons long into the future. If someone made you feel understood or loved a decade or two ago and you have a chance to do that for someone today, do it. Passing on kindness shouldn’t mean you pass on one kindness per each one you receive. Following the shapes theme, that’d just make a dotted circle, at best.

Instead, help to form the solid, beautiful, multi-colored circle that is gratitude. You can be the starting point of one that only grows with time.


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