We allow ourselves to get overwhelmed by the “stuff” of life.
We end up taking a lot for granted. We may even have GDD.
Gratitude Deficit Disorder.
This past week I’ve been devouring gratitude. Actually, devouring three works by Robert A. Emmons: The Little Book of Gratitude; Gratitude Works; and Thanks! So many useful nuggets and reminders about gratefulness and being aware.
In one of the works, Emmons references the “principle of scarcity.” When something or someone becomes unavailable—or we think we might never see it again—our gratitude and appreciation for that object reawakens or heightens.
I’ve often read or heard words something like, “If I knew I only had one week left, I’d make sure I witnessed a sunrise/called that long-lost friend/took a walk in the park/listened more deeply/said thank you to my significant other/loved a little longer/went to a music event/hugged my kid this morning/had a wonderful family meal/swam in the ocean/learned to surf/played the piano/….
Interesting that we have 52 weeks a year X the number of years in our lives and it takes knowing we have “only one week left” before we go into high alert and become aware of what we are to lose forever.
Perhaps you have heard of the “George Bailey Effect” named for the main character in It’s a Wonderful Life (1947). George, down on his luck, speculates that the world would have been better if he had not been born. His guardian angel, Clarence, indulges the thought and leads George through a life that does not include him. A life he never had the chance to impact. It’s only then that George, with the help of Clarence, realizes he had lost site of the great things in his life. He sees what the world—and he—would have missed if his wish were realized. His emotions are heightened and he sees with new eyes what he had with wonder and gratitude. He, in essence, experienced the principle of scarcity.
It can happen to any of us when we allow ourselves to get overwhelmed by the “stuff” of life. We end up taking a lot for granted. We have what Emmons refers to as GDD. Gratitude Deficit Disorder.
Either we do not receive enough and/or we do not offer and recognize enough gratitude in our lives. If we focus on the offering of gratitude, maybe, just maybe, we see the world a bit differently. We linger a bit longer on the awe of what is in front of us and what it would be mean if the person, the place, or the purpose no longer were in our lives. We shift attention.
“Gratitude is a way of seeing that alters our gaze,” Emmons said.
We have the control. Do for yourself what Clarence did for George. And perhaps, for a friend, family member or colleague, you can be an “angel” who helps that person focus on the good in life.
Video recommendation for the week.
In this scene, George Bailey has altered his gaze and experiences appreciation, joy, and gratitude.
Make it an inspiring and grateful week and H.T.R.B. as needed.
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