Think about gratitude today and your relationships. It can have a powerful impact on how you relate to those around you. Parents, partners, friends, colleagues all benefit from gratitude – but so do you.
Moments of gratitude help people recognize the value in others. This can especially be true in the person who is your partner. There are a number of studies that have shown this to be true – on days when people feel more appreciative of their partners than typical, they also report increased feelings of commitment to their relationship. And the benefits of gratitude are not just in daily life. So it seems that feelings of gratitude are associated with a psychological motivation to maintain strong relationships.
The benefits of gratitude really take off when we apply it to our closest relationships – remember that a grateful partner is a partner who will think and act in ways that help them make their relationship stronger. That first moment of gratitude can potentially become an ongoing cycle of gratitude and generosity and giving. It can actually become fun trying to exceed the others expectations research reveals.
It’s important to say that gratitude isn’t always the answer—and it can sometimes hurt you. The research I read is focused on understanding what factors promote the maintenance of healthy relationships that may have a bump in the road.
Here is a significant point in the studies – GRATITUDE IS GOOD IF THE RELATIONSHIP IS GOOD. There are some relationships that people should not be trying to hold onto. Emotionally damaging relationships that people continue to try and maintain can lead to disappointment and deep frustration. Looking for moments of gratitude in unhealthy relationships may encourage people to stay in the relationship when they should be ending.
But for normal, healthy, everyday dissatisfaction, the research suggests that you don’t have to sit idly by and grow resentful when you are feeling neglected. Instead take some time to reflect on your relationship and promote your own feelings of gratitude. These feelings can help you focus on boosting your own positive feelings about the relationship and down the line you may find yourself feeling more appreciated in turn.
Whether you are married or single expressions of gratitude can help healthy relationships. All of us have had those moments when we have shown gratitude to someone who never appreciates what we do or only appreciates us when they want something from us. It is hard, if not nearly impossible, to overcome constant negativity or abuse. The same could be said for neglected relationships. In healthy relationships you can make them even better with a good dose of gratitude used liberally every day.
So try to say something positive, encouraging, and grateful every day to those you love and care about and you WILL see the benefits.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23