Gratitude practice isn’t about pacifying our painful or challenging times—it’s about recognizing them and finding self-compassion as we do the work.Alex Elle
Each day, we offer a Daily Question in our Practice Space to inspire grateful reflection. We appreciate and learn from the joyful, poignant, and vulnerable responses that appear.
We offer the following selection of responses to one of our recent Daily Questions. May these reflections serve as inspiration for deepening your own gratefulness practice.
How has your interpretation of gratitude changed through the years?
“Gratitude to me used to be more about things in the moment; a gift, a card, a compliment. Now it is about how to live my best life daily; care about others, be thankful for my friendships and family, and my good health. Helping others always makes me feel grateful.”
“For me, gratitude was very one dimensional, and I thought of it more as something you had occasionally. For the big stuff. Now, I think of it as a practice. Like anything else that requires some discipline, effort, and time. And mainly, I see how it applies to even the smallest things. This breath. This moment.”
— Charlie T
“It used to be a response. It has transformed into a way of being.”
— Don Jones
“I don’t think I thought about it much. My parents were dutiful in having me say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and write cards to my givers. It was routine and sometimes forced. Now that expression is heartfelt and genuine. Happenings are not taken for granted and I appreciate more all the behind the scenes work.”
“The older I get the deeper my sense of gratitude is for the gift of days, for life, and all that unfolds within each and every hour.”
“I used to think gratitude was a quiet, introspective activity/experience. In the past three or four years I’ve realized the value of sharing the gratitude verbally or in writing. Gratitude used to be a personal experience, now it is a shared experience. Gratitude shared widens my circle.”
“Gratitude has become more real for me…it has become a part of who I am. I certainly am far from perfect, I have many flaws…..but I am thankful for all that I am. This site has given me great perspective…and such wisdom every day. I treasure each and every day and all that it brings.”
“My interpretation is still in the understanding state. I try to focus not on my circumstances but on my capabilities. Life is hard. It is not perfect. There are constraints. But most of those constraints are in my head. ‘I am an old man and have known a great many troubles. most of which never happened.’ Attributed to Mark Twain. If I live in the gain not the gap, I envision through the troubles to calm and peace.”
— Joseph McCann
“I have seen the effects of practicing gratitude and how life unfolds so much smoother when we are grateful. So it’s not just a momentary thank you, but a way of living that aids the process.”
“It has grown wider, deeper, and richer.”
— Barb C
“Everything changes! Gratefulness has changed by mind changing. The mind is the forerunner. Change that and everything is open and free. Letting go has been the greatest gift of uncovering the truth and then everything becomes gratefulness.”
“Transitioned from a noun to a verb.”
— Kevin C.
Photo by Nick Fewings