Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful; or the readiness to show appreciation for, and to return kindness.
To show appreciation for something, one must first accept what has been offered.
To accept is defined as being willing to consent, to receive, or to undertake. For instance, one can accept thanks. One can accept a position of employment. Either way, by accepting, one makes it one’s own.
Now, suppose one decides to sit and look at a wall all day. Over time, one might feel bored or even angry at having to do that. One could feel any number of attitudes and emotions looking at that wall. But note one fact: the wall never changes.
The only factor that changes is one’s willingness to accept, or not accept, sitting and looking at the wall.
Given the above, how we feel about anything may have very little to do with the thing itself.
I’ve noted to myself that people who are truly grateful seem genuinely happy. They appear to have accepted the things they’ve been given regardless of what those things are. They are at peace with themselves, with others, and the world.
Dagmar in Shadow of the Son tells Percy,
“Understand that it is our own willingness to accept what we’ve received that determines how we feel, and whether we are truly happy with it.”
You know, there might be something to this Thanksgiving thing after all.