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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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    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Dancing Water:

      Thanks very much for your comments on this hub! There are more situations than we realize that offer us opportunities to encourage generosity in others but sometimes life is so crazy that have to remember to have generous spirits ourselves!

    • Dancing Water profile image

      Dancing Water 5 years ago

      Thank you for a sweet, important hub. What I'm afraid is missing in many people is true empathy. If the people in that interminable line had walked around in the lone lady's shoes, they may not have been so "grumbly." It certainly is not her fault that the shop did not hire enough employees to take care of customers. I am grateful that you added levity and kindness to the situation, RTalloni!

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      internpete:

      Thanks kindly--I appreciate your response to this gratitude hub very much!

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Robert Erich:

      So glad you enjoyed this hub on cultivating gratitude! It is very satisfying to put our own concerns aside for a while and try to encourage others. Thank you for your visit here and for your input!

    • internpete profile image

      Peter V 5 years ago from At the Beach in Florida

      Great, I love what you're saying here! Voted up!

    • Robert Erich profile image

      Robert Erich 5 years ago from California

      RTalloni, we certainly do need more gratitude in our society! I loved your story about getting the cashier to smile. I strive to do the same thing in my life - get others to be happy and more appreciative. Thanks for writing and I am completely excited to share this article with my followers.

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      alissaroberts:

      Thank you very much--you are very kind. I'm glad this hub helped you remember those who were kind to you. I appreciate that you came by and let me hear from you. Your comments do a good job of helping to highlight the topic--may the New Year find us all more gracious. :)

    • alissaroberts profile image

      Alissa Roberts 5 years ago from Normandy, TN

      Oh how I love this hub! Working with the public for over 10 years, the people like you who understood why the line was so long and made a sweet comment back to me when I tried to apologize made my crazy job worth it. I wish everyone was as patient and gracious as you - it definitely would have made my past job easier! Thanks for sharing this hub and reminding us all to be a little more grateful!

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      lisa42:

      We do indeed take the way we live for granted. A look at the incredible deprivation in other parts of the world can give us some perspective, but does it really make us grateful? I think we need to remind each other and I appreciate that you came by and helped highlight the topic!

    • lisa42 profile image

      lisa42 5 years ago from Sacramento

      This is a great reminder for us all. Those of us in the US and other developed nations take so many things for granted. I think one of the greatest luxuries in the world is something most of us enjoy every day - a shower with hot running water. Most of us don't consider it a luxury, but over a billion people don't even have clean water to drink, much less hot running water to shower in. It's the "small things" like this we should be grateful for every day. It puts everything else in perspective.

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Linda Myshrall:

      Thanks kindly--I'm glad to see this highlighted at the beginning of our giving season.

      We do indeed need to think about our own thinking, don't we?!

      I appreciate your input and votes very much!

    • profile image

      Linda Myshrall 5 years ago

      RTalloni,

      What an excellent hub and topic.

      Altering one's Attitude is a powerful thing. For example, when I get to work on MY attitude, it's amazing how all of you and an unsatisfactory world straigtens up ;)

      Thank you for reminding me that I have much to be grateful for!

      Up, useful, excellent and thumbs up :)

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      ithabise:

      That would be something to celebrate! :)

      Thanks much for coming by and letting me hear from you.

    • ithabise profile image

      Michael S. 5 years ago from Winston-Salem, NC

      Excellent job and I concur. It starts with one--and wouldn't it be great to see good catch like a fire?

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Danette Watt:

      You are welcome--thanks so much for coming by!

      Without starting my day alone with the Lord and His Word my focus tends to fall on the difficulties of life, and there are plenty of them. If I lean hard on Him, however, my weaknesses are strengthened, and I see Him do what I cannot do in difficult situations. How thankful I am for the joy that only He can give in the face of difficulties, and that by His power I can share it with others.

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks again for the link to my gratitude hub! You remarked about making the time to focus on what you have (i.e., not to always be in such a rush). That is so true. I rush through the day with so much to do. I'm working on fitting meditation into my life,trying to practice it a few times a week. Slowing down forces us to look at our lives and what we have. Sometimes that's painful which is probably why people like me keep barreling through along!

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Hi Brinafr3sh,

      How kind of you to let me know that you've looked the hub over again--I'm honored! It is so satisfying to hear that people think it's a worthy hub and I appreciate your visit very much. May your daughters give you their heart on this and all the character qualities that you want to teach them!

    • Brinafr3sh profile image

      Brinafr3sh 5 years ago from West Coast, United States

      Hi RTalloni,

      I had to read this hub again. I'm commenting on this hub again because I try to specify to my daughters to have the attitude for gratitude. Thanks

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      SherrieAnne:

      Thank you for stopping by with your kind comments!

      Our culture tells us that we need more of the material things offered by the commercialism of our society, but too few voices are warning people that there is no satisfaction in them--they only make us want more.

      Cultivating gratitude instead of complaining will make us happier people and help us think through solutions to problems that come up. :)

      Thanks much for helping to highlight this topic!

    • SherrieAnne profile image

      SherrieAnne 5 years ago

      Thank you for such a wonderfully sweet hub reminding us that our circumstances shouldn't change our attidude of gratitude. We have so much to be thankful for. Bless you~

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Howdy Silver Poet:

      Sort of takes the fun out of things? ;)

      Thanks much for coming by and not starting any riots. :)

    • Silver Poet profile image

      Silver Poet 5 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

      Great hub! I guess I won't start any riots!

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thank you kindly, Brinafr3sh.

      I appreicate your visit and comment very much!

    • Brinafr3sh profile image

      Brinafr3sh 6 years ago from West Coast, United States

      Hi R Talloni,

      This hub is beautiful, many people today should know that when we have gratitude, we will get more. Gratitude should be part of a righteous person's character. Thanks

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks for coming by jagandelight. We certainly can defuse a hostile situation with kind words, but we need to watch those type of situations very carefully. I have seen kindness inflame an angry person!

    • profile image

      jagandelight 6 years ago

      a word of kindness and gratitude will defuse any hostile situation, and add happiness to your day.

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      maggs224,

      You are right, it doesn't take long for something to turn into a habit. I'm going to chew on that truth for a while--thanks!

      And thanks bunches for stopping in and letting me know that you enjoyed the hub. Appreciate it very much.

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain

      An attitude of gratitude is a great habit to culture in oneself and in others and it take a fairly short time for something to turn into a habit.

      This is a very refreshing hub just what I needed to hear I am greatful that I read it this morning I am voting it up :)

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks for coming by and leaving your comment.

    • daffodil2010 profile image

      daffodil2010 6 years ago

      nice hub thanks for sharing

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks very much for stopping by!

    • Nina'sWorld profile image

      Nina'sWorld 6 years ago

      Had a good time reading it. Thank you for sharing it ! :-)

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks bunches, both for coming by this hub and for commenting on it! Comments help keep the reminder highlighted! :)

    • elle444 profile image

      elle444 6 years ago

      Great hub! Remembering all that we're grateful for really does diffuse a "bad mood" or a "bad day"! Thanks for the great reminder!

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thank you! Very much appreciate your stopping in and commenting.

    • HealthyHanna profile image

      HealthyHanna 6 years ago from Utah

      I think you are right on. I voted it up.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Very much appreciate that you stopped by and commented!

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 6 years ago

      Beautiful hub! I agree..Thankfulness for what we have is such a wonderful way to live. It nourishes our very souls.

      Thank you for writing this and reminding us of this very thing.

      Sunnie

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thank you for reading as well as for leaving your comment to help keep the concept highlighted. We all need to remember it.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Yes you are absolutely right. How can anyone expect to ever be happy if they can't appreciate what they already have. A great hub. Thank you.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thank you kindly. I appreciate your stopping by and your response. I have come to believe that gratitude is as important as eating our vegetables!

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Great hub! People need to be reminded of what is really important. It is too bad we have to be reminded of gratitude. The world would be a better place if gratitude was a regular habit. Your article sends a powerful message. Voted up and beautiful.

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thank you kindly!

      You are so right. Reminding each other is a good thing!

      Appreciate your comments and your vote very much.

    • TheListLady profile image

      TheListLady 6 years ago from New York City

      Thanks for this reminder. I know I have so much to be grateful for. Really. But sometimes we need a reminder. I think our lives are filled with so much clutter that we can't think clearly.

      This serves as a great pep talk. Thanks a million and rated up.

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Bravo! That was a great thing you did for your friend! Sometimes people are truly overburdened and can't think straight. I've surely been thankful for friends who ran along my side at certain times. Your friend has a good friend in you!

      The idea of writing down important things like that is an excellent one. It would be helpful to us and it could be helpful to our children and grandchildren one day.

      Thanks much for stopping by and for sharing this great idea. You've got my mind ticking... :)

    • Green Wasabi profile image

      Green Wasabi 6 years ago

      Some people who complain all the time, really have a lot of things to be grateful for. Once when my friend was feeling unhappy, I have pointed out some really good things that he had in life. Surprisingly, he thought for a minute and then asked me if I could write it down for him so he wouldn't forget. Maybe we all should write down some really important things that we have and enjoy, and read it when we're feeling down.

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thank you kindly. So appreciate your input!

    • profile image

      Maria Speight 6 years ago

      I really enjoyed this hub and it's definitely something that we need to be aware of. It's easy to look at our own circumstances and be negative about them but sometimes a little comparison with larger problems puts them into perspective. Beautiful, thank you!

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thank you kindly, SM83! Bravo for helping your nephews expand their thinking and become more grateful.

    • SweetMarie83 profile image

      Marie Landry 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Beautiful hub! I love your idea of bringing these lessons into the schools and having it be something tangible that kids can really get involved in. It's so easy and takes so little time, not only to be polite but to be grateful and really mean it. I work hard at teaching my young nephews about gratitude - 'you should feel lucky because when I was your age I didn't have this or couldn't go there or there was no such thing as...' or 'you may not want to eat your dinner but there are children all over the world who don't have anything to eat so you should be grateful', etc, etc, and it always makes me feel good when I see the wheels turning and the light of understanding and then a bit more gratitude for the small things.

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      So glad you've included this input! You're on target. Wisdom can teach us, too. So many don't even realize they have a choice between experience and wisdom though. Appreciate your coming by and participating in the comments.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 6 years ago from United States

      One of your ideas strikes me as particularly true--"selfishness is a burden." There truly is something freeing about caring more for others than for yourself or for objects of supposed value. Sometimes, I think, you have to lose just about everything to realize that.

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Tamarajo:

      We don't have to travel far across our own borders to gain some perspective do we? If everyone took a thoughtful visit to other countries to see first hand how the average person really lives in 3rd world settings, under shaira law, where there is mafia/gang/guerilla-type rule, or even under socialized medical care, the inside attacks on our own country would be greatly minimized.

      Great input, thanks much for stopping by and adding to the dialogue!

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      AliciaC: Appreciate your stopping in and your affirming comments. Acknowledging our blessings to ourselves and others is important for a wide variety of reasons, isn't it?!

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 6 years ago

      As I was reading I couldn't help but think of a trip I took to guatemala. A visit to the bank to make a simple transaction can mean standing in a line for an hour and a half.

      We really do have so much to be thankful for and your responses about living in a country such as this really is something to be grateful for comparatively speaking.

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Patsybell: Thank you very much for your good input and kind blessing! You helped me remember a quote on kindness that lists several things we might be sorry for and then ends with, "but you'll never be sorry you were kind."

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Pamela: Thank you so much! Having a grateful attitude really does effect our health, and vice versa.

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thoughtforce: Appreciate your coming by and leaving additional insight to the topic of this hub! You are exactly right.

    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      DML: Thank you for stopping in and commenting. The toaster example of everyone being responsible for toasting their own bread is a great one!

    • 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!

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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!