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Cultivating Gratitude in a Materialistic Society

Updated on November 21, 2016
Giving thanks is an important attitude.  It's not just a holiday to be grateful for and enjoy.
Giving thanks is an important attitude. It's not just a holiday to be grateful for and enjoy. | Source

Be Thankful and Help Others to be Grateful

✿ Is it possible to contribute to others' well-being and make a difference in societal thinking?

✿ Could each of us raise the bar for society's attitudes by promoting gratitude in the face of rampant materialism?

• You can influence Others in a positive manner!

• You can foster gratitude among desperate people!

• You can affirm gratefulness in people's attitudes!

✿ Individually and corporately we can set an example and help people respond better to each other.

It's such a simple matter to attend to as we go through our daily lives!

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It's about how a gracious attitude makes us feel–it’s a “freeing” effect because selfishness is a burden, a sense of entitlement is confining.

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How to Encourage Gratitude?

Today I planted two dwarf crepe myrtles, a special gift to us from some dear people. As I worked my thoughts ran over the importance of having a grateful mindset and being satisfied rather than always looking to get “more.”

Enough is never enough with human nature, but one way to help curb materialism is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude in ourselves, our children, and our communities. “How to” is the big question when it comes to inspiring gratitude, after all, most of us are just “us” going about our own stuff and such on a day-to-day basis, right?

Have an Attitude of Gratitude Everyday!
Have an Attitude of Gratitude Everyday! | Source

On hearing complaints when I’m out I try to respond kindly with a light, simple, “Hey, it’s okay, we live in America and we don’t have to worry about (insert something that relates like having enough food to eat…).

“Hey, it’s okay, we live in America and we get to choose (insert, where we go, how long we stay, what to buy…)" also gets attention. This sort of response gives people a chance to stop and think, something they seem glad for the chance to do.

Just yesterday I was stuck in as long and as slow moving line as I ever remember being in. Only one register was open and, while it’s common knowledge that videos are running all over the place, no other live employees could be seen in the store.

The poor lady working the one check-out station began to apologize very nicely with “thank yous” for her customers’ patience. Her kindnesses were met with sullen silence from most who were waiting, which I had to admit was better than angry arguments.

Can we help spread the concept of gratitude in our communities? Surely the answer is yes!

Two Words That Show Gratitude!
Two Words That Show Gratitude! | Source

Encourage Gratitude In Everyone Around You

When it was my turn to check out she was even more vocal with her apologies. After their initial shock, everyone laughed when I replied with a comment about how I had considered starting a riot over the lengthy wait, but that her nice smile and apologies kept me from it.

She sort of blinked in surprise, then chuckled, and we had a quick conversation about how nothing is worth bad behavior and oh, don’t we feel sorry for those in places that get caught up in the nasty business of riots.

We agreed that the majority of the people in those places are trapped by what would amount to only a few if the truth were known, and how thankful we are to live here, etc. It wasn’t a long conversation, but the people around us started to listen and agree.

Their minds were taken off their present situation and their hearts beat in compassion for people trapped in very bad situations. I was delighted to come away from those few moments with a sense of community.

Is it possible that those people went on to share the important concepts we discussed in that brief span of time with their own family and friends, spreading ideas of gratitude in their personal communities? How cool would that be!?!

Gratitude Encourages Good Things

Personally, nurturing an attitude of gratitude is especially important to me for a variety of reasons which do not need explaining here. The method of doing it is what is important for this hub and the bottom line is that I need to maintain a willingness to focus on all that I have to be grateful for as well as make time for thinking about it (translate: not be in such a hurry to get on with the next thing I must do or want to do in life). It’s not a difficult job but our hurry-scurry lifestyles do get in the way, don’t they?

It is possible for us have a mature perspective on gratitude and to develop it in our children, as well as to promote it in our communities. With a focus on the importance of being thankful, we can be a beacon of hope for many who feel hopeless simply because they don’t focus on all that they do have to be grateful for. Start small in your home, workplace, and community and let the beauty of gratitude blossom!

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Cultivate Gratitude!

Connecting with classroom teachers and helping them plan and develop a “gratitude week” with special activities that would culminate in something tangible to help students remember the concepts they learn about could be a great way to contribute to a community.

A plan could include speakers from other countries willing to talk about why they came to America, speakers from other eras willing to talk about why they fought for freedom, awards for the best essay and/or random acts of kindness, along with lessons from nurses or even doctors on why a constant attitude of gratitude is healthy for us.

A talented someone could write a new children’s song, one that is actually beautiful--not a silly ditty, about gratitude. Another could run a poster contest, and yet another could design tees to emphasize what is being taught.

As well, teaching children to say thank you to each other in the home, when they check out at the library, and even to strangers is an important way to help them experience the satisfaction of gratitude.

It’s more than manners for the purpose of making oneself look good. It’s about how a gracious attitude makes one feel–it’s a “freeing” effect because selfishness is a burden and a feeling of entitlement is confining.

The general apathy pervading so many communities can make this effort with children difficult, but when parents do work at teaching gratitude they are always glad for the difference it makes in their children.

Thank You is a Powerful Statement

Give Thanks!

There are Many Ways to Say Thank You:

✿ Add to this Dialogue on Cultivating Gratitude

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    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

      I totally agree with you! There is so much to be grateful for, even if everything isn´t exactly as we wanted it in our life. It is so easy to just see the flaws and to miss the good things. Thanks for this lovely hub, it is a great reminder!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      I agree with you completely. Keeping an attitude of gratitude not only blesses those around you that makes you feel wonderful inside as well. This hub is a lovely reminder of that concept. Voted/rated up.

    • Patsybell profile image

      Patsy Bell Hobson 6 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

      Thank you. This is a worderful reminder to live and lead by example. A kind word is always the right word. May your dwarf crepe myrtles always bring you happiness and beauty.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for a great hub. You’ve made so many good points. I agree with you - even with all the problems in the world there is a lot to be grateful for, and it’s important to express our gratitude to others. It’s also very true that we should encourage young people to express their gratitude for the good things in their lives.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Wonderful! Yes, it starts young, and in the home. Too much crabbing and grumbling...and mis-directed. Am I angry about some things? Yes, indeed I am. But it is not the fault of the checker, or the other people in line. It is the fault of greed at the top of giant corporations and utility services.

      Some of this can be de-fused by measures such as I recall from a childhood visit to a restaurant when we were on vacation one year: Each table had its own toaster, and you were served a basket of assorted bread.

      If the toast was too light or dark, or cold, you had no reason to become angry at the kitchen staff or the waitress.

      Other irritating things over which it seems we have no control can be addressed by exercising our constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of speech and peaceable assembly, as seen recently in Wisconsin.

      But irrational rage as in the modern-day terminology of "going postal" is never excuseable.

      Great hub! Voted up!

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