Gratitude. Such a small word but such a big concept. It is defined as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness” – in other words, being kind and thankful. If there’s one thing I have learnt over the last couple of years it’s that gratitude is something not many people are willing to show.
I am always being told I need to stop saying thank you and a couple of people have told me I am the kindest person they have met. Obviously this is so flattering and it means so much to me, but at the same time, if I stop being grateful then I stop being me and I don’t want that to happen. This is such a big part of my personality that it’s never going to be in my blood to be ungrateful or unkind.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I am the nicest person in the world, I just love to make others feel good and I love being grateful too. Sometimes it annoys me when people are never thankful and they take people for granted who do so much for them. I see it all the time and it angers me knowing people can take advantage of people who are so genuinely kind and caring but they get nothing back in return. Quite often it isn’t a conscious decision and people don’t even realise when they’re being ungrateful, or maybe they don’t even think they need to say thank you in certain situations. Even so, gratitude definitely goes a long way.
I have always said that the smallest things in life mean so much to me. If someone so much as smiled at me in the street or sent me a nice text, I would not stop thinking about it all day and it would make me genuinely happy. I always try and compliment people, send them nice messages and make them happy when I can. After all, I have always believed in the saying “treat others how you want to be treated”. I admit at times I may not be as grateful as I should be for things, but I kick myself when I realise and I’ll make sure I have a word with myself if I have to. I am definitely not trying to preach anything either about how people should behave, I’m just merely stating my opinion based on my experiences.
Gratitude for something can really make all the difference to someone. I for one know that when I get thanked for something it makes me feel really good about things. This is especially true if I have gone out of my way to do something and the person is genuinely so happy and thankful for it. There’s nothing better for me than seeing the people I care about happy. I never ask to be thanked and I don’t ask anyone to be a certain way with me, which is why when someone is grateful it means the world to me.
I once got a text off one of my friends saying “I just want you to know I’m so grateful to have you and for everything you do” and honestly I have never stopped thinking about it since. It was something so small but so meaningful and to know that I make a difference to someone’s life in that way just by being there for them means everything to me.
I have never and will never take anything for granted, whether it be my friends, family or pets. Everyone I am surrounded by make me a better person and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
The small things mean so much to me because of everything I have been through in life. The experiences I have faced have made me who I am and therefore going out of my way for people is just in my nature. Yes it hurts when I do things for people and they overlook it, but I get on with life, no point getting hung up on things like that because deep down I know they don’t meant to do it. Like I said earlier, I’m definitely not always as grateful as I should be.
I think the milestone moment for me which changed my outlook on life was when one of my nans died at the age of 65 and when my granddad had a heart attack in his early 70’s. My dad was only 40 when he lost his mum and that for me changed everything. I can’t even imagine losing my parents, let alone be still so young when it happens.
Luckily my granddad pulled through and got better, but he suffered another heart attack a couple of years later when I was just 16. Due to family circumstances I ended up having to care for him and my other nan around the clock that summer and it made me appreciate everything I had so much more than before.
I wasn’t able to go out much and as a result I became very reclusive, but I wouldn’t change it for the world because my grandparents mean the world to me so I would do it all again in a heartbeat. It was simply a fact of life that at that time I had to get used to and accept. Watching my granddad suffer was when it changed how I thought about things and I told myself from that moment onwards I would never be ungrateful again. I was so thankful I was alive and well and I felt so sad for him that he was suffering. From that moment on, the smallest things meant so much to me and it’s definitely something I will always carry with me.
My message for people really is that being grateful is so important, even if we feel like we want more or we wish we could change parts of our lives, we need to be grateful for what we do have. Focusing on what we don’t have will ultimately just make us unhappy and that’s why it’s so important not to dwell on it. Remember to tell those you love how much they mean to you and don’t be scared to be grateful – you never know how much it might mean to someone. We definitely need more kindness in the world.
Here are just a few things I am grateful for:
- MY PARENTS – WHERE WOULD I BE WITHOUT YOU BOTH?
- MY AMAZING FRIENDS – BOTH AT UNI AND AT HOME
- MY PETS
- MY BROTHER
- MY HOUSE
- MY HEALTH
- MY UNI GRADES
- MY FAMILY
What are you guys grateful for?