I’ve been thinking a bit more since I wrote about gratitude last week. I feel like a lot things I have seen written about gratitude have a focus on what being grateful will do for you, i.e. how it will make you feel better. How and why we express gratitude to other people is often not really spoken of, but it is potentially far more important.
Wellbeing is closely related to the quality of our connections or relationships with other people. I feel like over our culture has become very focused introspection, on the me, and that can make this easy to forget. We are pushed to think about questions like: How do I make myself happy? How do I improve myself? Our interdependence is not always that evident to most people, and it can be easy to take the things that other people do to help us for granted. It can be relatively easy, in our increasingly individualistic culture, to forget that humans are social animals. We are biologically rigged to work together. None of us every really achieves anything alone.
One of the things I have been thinking about is being mindful of expressing gratitude to other people. In particular in trying to make sure that I am thankful to the people close to me, like when my boyfriend makes me buttered crumpets, or when my sister buys me pink swim fins for my birthday. I think that taking the time to show people you appreciate the small everyday kindnesses they may pass your way is possibly the best form of gratitude practice I can think of.