Gratitude

Mormon ServiceGratitude is often harder to feel and show than one might think. It is easy to be shown all that you do not have. The media is good at reminding us of all there is we have not yet experienced. It also fools us into thinking if there is something out there we deserve to have it, and now. Getting sucked into this mindest, nothing you have will ever be enough because there’s always more. There are not very many things in society telling us to look at all the things we do have. Few people are telling us it is healthy to be happy with what we have. It is easy to look at those who have more than us and wish we had what they have. We do not often look at all the people in the world who have less than we do.

The fact remains, that no matter how bad things are, they could always be worse. There is always something to be grateful for. Sometimes it takes a real effort to look on the positive side of things, but to put in that kind of effort helps you appreciate more what you have, even when things are tough. There is always hope.

This is one reason why Mormons, or members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, make a point of showing gratitude in their prayers. Before we ask for help from God, we should thank Him for what He has already given us. Taking the time to think about your blessings can help you realize that your life is full of miracles. God is aware of each of us and will answer our prayers.

We should always give thanks to God, not only in prayer and thought, but in the way we live our lives as well.

Gratitude toward God can translate into your actions. When you are thankful for what He has given you, for your life and for your talents and your family, you live better. You want to live better. Happiness and gratitude translate into kindness to others and a desire to give others what you have: generosity and love.

Grateful people are less likely to be greedy with what they have and to be resentful of what they don’t. A grateful person is more likely to act out of a realization that others have needs that need to be met. If we feel gratitude, we may especially not want to see someone else suffer because they don’t have enough. Gratitude helps us know the difference between needs and wants, between the essentials and the whims of the now. We might want a candy bar right now (and oh do we), but it isn’t what we need. When we are grateful for having healthy food, we might be able to step back from impulses and ask ourselves, “Do I actually need a candy bar, or am I better off just eating that sandwich and apple?” Wants look less attractive when we realize we have enough.

So (and the Mormon religion makes a point of this) we help the poor, we talk to the upset, we look out for ways to serve, we look for those needs to be met. When you become an adult and have children, this may become even more important.

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