Here’s the longer version…
Gratitude is a simple and lovely emotion. When you feel grateful, you are feeling thankful for something (we even have a holiday based on being grateful). Studies show that gratitude is a key ingredient in what makes happy people happy.
American Psychologist shared an interesting article, “Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions,” that describes gratitude as “being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen.” The article proposes that positive psychology, which includes a healthy portion of gratitude, can increase happiness, energy and empathy levels in people who are grateful. That’s awesome!
I am rather grateful for a number of things in my life, including my health, friends, family. But I am not grateful for pizza (even though Montreal-style pizza is fucking delicious – shout out Woodland’s Pizzeria in Verdun), or Ryan Gosling (even though I would poke a grandmother* in both eyes every day for a month to have sex with him) or quick-dry nail polish (even though it allows me to do all those necessary things one needs to do immediately following a fresh application of nail polish, like make the bed or scratch my head). Pizza, Ryan and quick-dry nail polish are great, but I am not grateful for them.
Does that make me an unappreciative jerk? Does it mean I do not value food, sex or advances in the cosmetics industry? Nope. It simply means I am not over-using the word. I like, love, desire, value, enjoy, relish many, many things. I am grateful for a few truly meaningful things in my life.
Is it just a lack of vocabulary that makes grateful the word du jour?
Unfortunately, I think it’s worse than a stifled vocabulary. I think being grateful is something we unabashedly want other people to think we are. Being grateful is a good thing to be so we must expose our gratitude for the world to see, and admire. I think that’s what’s really grating my nerves here – the people who have to make such a stink about being grateful, the ones who want to be noticed for being grateful.
Fuck off, already.
Stop being so grateful for every little thing. I’m so grateful they extended the hours at lululemon / so grateful for the getaway weekend in Vegas / so grateful they made fat-free Oreos / so grateful my office dress code allows for casual Fridays / so grateful I was able to TVR the last episode of The Amazing Race…
You people are ruining what it means to be grateful. You are taking away the meaning of the word, diluting it with your over-use and under-appreciation of the meaning. There is a beauty and subtlety to being grateful. It includes taking the time to appreciate sunshine, bees, our body’s incredible regenerative powers, maple syrup, Spanish guitar, sailing or whatever else floats your boat. It doesn’t include telling everyone with ears that you are grateful.
Like anything else, too much of a good thing is not a good thing.
*Not my grandmother, of course. A random grandmother.
Seligman, M. E. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. The American P