Concepts

Putting Gratitude First

There is so much to be thankful for in our lives. We may be grateful for our health, job security, or the support we receive from friends and family. The gratitude we feel from season to season can fluctuate, but one thing is usually true: we feel and express gratitude for the things we already have.

We send thank you notes for a gift received, we keep gratitude journals, and once a year we sit around a turkey dinner and share with others all the things we feel grateful for. Like cause and effect, our thanks are often the result of the blessings bestowed upon us. And if we aren’t in the habit of giving thanks, it only takes a ‘near miss’ like avoiding a car accident, to prompt us to send a silent prayer of thanks to the Creator.

Yet kabbalists teach that we have it all backward—we should aim to feel thankful before we receive anything at all. The gratitude itself is the goal, not the thing we desire. "Two people bless their food before they eat,” explains Karen Berg. “What is the difference between these two individuals? One says the blessing so that he may eat, while the other desires to eat so that he can say the blessing to thank the Creator. When we live with a consciousness of gratitude, viewing every day as a Divine gift, our life can grow and flourish with miracles."

Framing our thoughts around gratitude invites more blessings into our lives. It is easy to focus on our goals and put off joy and appreciation until we receive the things we desire. “When I graduate from college, I can relax,” “When I retire, I can finally go on vacation,” or “When I finish this project, I’ll connect with my family and friends.” Our goals are better aimed at finding daily fulfillment than putting off appreciation until we hit milestones. When we are living for tomorrow, we miss the joy of what is happening right now.

We are living in a higher consciousness when we inject appreciation and joy into the life we are living right now. There are thousands of things to be thankful for daily and conscientiously reflecting on gratitude can positively impact one’s attitude and approach to life.

Karen Berg explains, “Imagine a world in which every person would simply get up in the morning and say, ‘Wow, I have eyes to see and hands to feel! Thank You, God!’ Then just imagine how the positive energy that ripples outwards from each individual with this kind of consciousness will eventually alter the mass consciousness.”

The list of things we can express gratitude for is never ending. Still, the blessings in our lives deserve our attention and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Taking time each day to reflect on gratitude can positively affect one’s approach to life. And when we make appreciation the focus instead of our desires, we open the door to more blessings and things to be thankful for in our lives.

Related

See all