There are so many benefits to gratitude as an emotion and a behavior. Sometimes showing gratitude as a behavior leads to the emotions of gratitude. I believe in the saying, “Act, don’t just react.” Actions lead to the satisfaction of feelings – not always but often.
Character development is about the values we hold and the roles we play on our journey through life. We want our voice and our actions to be authentic. There is something in all of us that drives us toward an authentic self. When we hold in check opposing qualities within our nature, we develop personal character and increase our interpersonal and relational abilities. We want balance not dependency – we want to remain free without being irresponsible – we want to stretch our capacity for developing our authenticity.
Spirituality brings meaning to life, and spiritual growth helps us to discover meaning. There are many people who are very spiritual but are not very religious these day. Jesus wanted to show us there was a new way of relating to one another and the world. He was not just a good man or a teacher he was a true force of creation and to his followers known as the Son of God. Why? Because they saw the power he was revealing in them changed their lives and the world and connected them to their creator.
Spirituality is often expressed in religious terms, but Jesus wanted people to actually experience and recognize a state of grace, transcendency, freedom, gratitude, generosity and all which is sacred or holy. He revealed that it was available to all people; not in religious ceremony and ritual but in relationships. This can bring wholeness to the emotional, physical, and intellectual dimensions of life. The essence of this relationship to the eternal provides a sense of wholeness within us. When we are in touch with this it brings about unshakeable faith. We are then, in a very real sense, aligned with the eternal.
Gratitude is the force that can help align us. When we develop a spirit of gratitude we begin to shift and look at blessings in our lives and in our own nature that we can share. We become happier, healthier, and more effective in our contributions. We begin to look for the goodness in ourselves and others, demonstrating more compassion and generosity. As we do this we discover the authentic self. As Jesus gave his life for many, we find ourselves more fully connected to the eternal within us when we give our life for many.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45