The most underused tool in Self-Development

Gratitude is such a simple and easy tool to access and that is probably why it is very often forgotten about, under utilised or even discarded….because it is so simple.

I would like to unpack this a little more and I would love for you to start to open your thoughts and feelings to explore this with me.

So let’s have a look at the meaning of the word gratitude, because there is a phrase I use a lot which is “when we can language something, we can experience it”.

Let’s get some language around the word….what does it mean, where does it come from and how can we experience it.

Here is a breakdown from the internet which I believe provides all of the above.

Gratitude: -

Gratitude, thankfulness, or gratefulness, from the Latin word gratus ‘pleasing, thankful’, is a feeling of appreciation felt by and/or similar positive response shown by the recipient of kindness, gifts, help, favors, or other types of generosity, towards the giver of such gifts.

The line that really gives meaning to this tool is the final few words “towards the giver of such gifts”

Let me ask you this, and it may appear that we are heading off on a tangent, but stick with me…

Who is the giver of our thoughts, feelings and the meanings we associate with those thoughts or feelings? Or to put it a different way….who is responsible for our thoughts and feelings and linking of meaning to those thoughts and feelings?

Ultimately it ourselves, we choose our thoughts and feelings and the meaning we give to those thoughts and feelings. We are 100% responsible for all of this process, especially the meaning part.

It is our choice to assign a meaning that will serve us best…….OUR CHOICE….. so for example if you have been driving down the road and someone pulls out in front of you, you choose to take the appropriate action to avoid the collision, you choose to respond with hand gestures, shouting, flashing of your lights or you choose to remain calm and be thankful that you didn’t have an accident. You choose to carry on like a pork chop or not….based upon the meaning you choose to associate with the scenario you have just experienced.

What are your thoughts?

What just came up for you as you read that passage?

Maybe, go back through it again and now bring awareness to the picture you have painted in your mind of the situation playing out….bring awareness to your responses and then think further into the future and how that mindset you have chosen will go on to impact your day and those around you.

It is interesting how when we become even more aware of our thoughts, feelings, meanings that we choose we can see how they impact us.

Now, let’s bring this back to gratitude…

We have established that we are 100% responsible for our thoughts, feelings and meaning we attach to things.

Let’s take that example I used earlier of the near miss on the road.

We can either choose to carry on like a pork chop, telling anyone who will listen what an idiot that other driver was and what a hero you were in avoiding the accident. You may even embellish the story even more or go on to say how you honked your horn and flashed your lights to make sure that person knew how much of an idiot they were, and you will probably justify your behaviour by saying you were doing it so that they learnt a lesson and wouldn’t injure anyone else.


You can choose to be grateful that no one was injured and leave it at that….

Which one would serve you best do you think?

Which one would give you a feeling of inner peace and calm?

Which one would make you feel good?

Try both on, as you are reading this, just pause and run both scenarios through your head and tell me which one you prefer with regards to how it feels internally for you?

Cool, this is what I mean by the final few words of that description at the start of this blog “towards the giver of such gifts”

May I suggest this? You may agree or disagree and either way it is cool, but here is my perspective…

Because we are 100% in charge of the thoughts, feelings and associated meaning of everything we experience, are we then the “giver of gifts” to ourselves?

And even more, everything that we experience we choose how we see, feel and experience it?

Therefore, we can choose to be grateful for everything, perhaps, even the things that we perceive as negative.

Let me explain this a little more…nearly every morning I wake up and practice gratitude as a daily tool to get my mindset clear for the day and create my intention.

One of the things that I often am grateful for is the opening of 2 gifts each morning….my eyes.

Because if I were not alive, my eyes would not open and I would have no further opportunity to experience life and when I say life, I mean the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of life.

So even when something that I perceive as negative happens, I still have an attitude of gratitude because I still have the gift of life, where many people I know….don’t because they have passed on.

This is my choice and it is a choice that I make because it makes me feel good…

Now if chose that the feeling that you liked the most, from the car accident scenario, was the one of gratitude that you survived and that no-one was injured…..then you will understand the feeling I am talking about.