No, I’m not going to get all weepy about how we should be grateful for the sacrifices and gifts that we’ve received from others.
We should, of course, but that’s not my point today.
Instead, let’s talk about the practical aspect of gratitude. I’ve observed that people need to be wanted and appreciated. If you live in a society, part of what helps you be happy is that others are supporting you in ways that lift your spirits. When you do something, and that has value to someone, you want to get a sense of why that was useful.
Americans tend to be more sensitive about this, but even in other cultures people need feedback. They want to hear when someone appreciated what they’ve done.
So one thing you get out of carrying an attitude of gratitude is that it helps others to want to work with you more, and to help you in return. They do something, you’re a little happier. You tell them you appreciate it, and they’re a little happier.
It keeps building.
But it’s not just about getting other people to do stuff for you. It’s also core to developing a relationship. A healthy relationship isn’t just about people trading value for value – after all, that’s no different than giving someone money because they just sold you a shirt. A real relationship is about caring for how the other person feels, and altering your behavior to make them happier.
When you express gratitude, it makes the other person happier. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
by Carl Dierschow