Perhaps the best teacher with regard to relationships isn’t failure (which is a superior teacher, “the Father of Success” as we say around here) but rather gratitude.
As we collectively begin to slowly re-emerge into society after months of sheltering in place, I wonder what each of us has learned. For me, one of the most powerful lessons learned is the relational power of gratitude. A gratitude practice is by definition incomplete if you cannot answer three vital questions:
- For what are you personally grateful (from your senses to your health and beyond). This is a question answered with you as the context.
- For whom are you grateful (from caregivers to mentors and friends)?
- To whom or what are you grateful for the gifts listed in questions one and two?
Answering question one tends to create a wellspring of gratitude as we take stock of those things we often take for granted. As our list grows, our awareness of how much we have to be grateful for can be uplifting and even overwhelming.
Answering question two creates a reflective mindset on those people that have been our advocates and inspiration. As this list grows, each of us will draw closer mentally and emotionally to these people and tend those relationships more carefully.
It’s question three above that causes the most pause for people. Because, not everyone considers this important concept…you cannot be fully grateful without having gratitude to and for the source of your gifts. Think about that idea.
Your gratitude practice is incomplete until you find the source of the gifts for which you are grateful.
If your gifts in this life, for which you are grateful, come from random chance and coincidence – there’s no need to be grateful. The same random, unfeeling, ambivalent random chance may also be the source of all your troubles. However, if you can find the source for your gifts, you can lean into and complete your gratitude practice in a way that far exceeds anything you may have experienced prior. After all, it’s one thing to acknowledge the gifts for which you are grateful – it’s something else entirely to discover their source.