The Six Pillars of Gratitude

The Six Pillars of Gratitude

Gratitude can be an attitude, a posture towards life, not just a polite reaction to someone else’s kindness.

The Roman philosopher and statesman Cicero held that

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.

Living a grateful life rather than just feeling grateful is not always easy to do. If we live life from a grateful standpoint we go beyond just making ourselves feel better or happier. When we put gratitude at the heart of everything, it positively changes the way in which we connect with each other. We will be actively seeking the good and kindness in the actions of others.

Living life gratefully is sometimes referred to as deep gratitude. While feeling gratitude may seem simple, deep gratitude has not only become a hot topic for discussion in modern psychological circles, it has been discussed by moral philosophers for centuries.

Gratitude is built on six pillars. We need all of these in order to develop an attitude of gratitude and to make it a positive force in our own lives and in society as well. These six pillars are: relatedness, sincerity, empathy, self-regard, integrity, and humility.

Deep gratitude requires that we commit to putting the relationships in our lives at the top of the list of priorities in our lives, despite all the busyness and distractions, which we often get caught up with. Our relatedness to others is essential in adopting an attitude of gratitude!

In Australia where we often express gratitude by going through the motions. To cultivate deep gratitude we need to be authentic and sincere; to express gratitude in ways that are meaningful to the other person. If we are not sincere our gratitude will soon pass and may even be selfish, with us expecting something in return.

Sincerity comes from an absence of affectation, deceit, or hypocrisy. Sincere gratitude needs to be free from all those things in order to be effective.

Even when we have located the genuine place from which to be grateful, it is also essential to be empathetic. To see things from the other person's perspective. When we do this we will be able to put the kindness of others into context.

Living gratefully is often most tested in times of adversity. It’s not possible to feel grateful in all moments. In those moments we can still live gratefully though.

We can do this by focussing on our own position in life and all the things that we personally are grateful for. Self-regard or self love comes in, in these situations. It helps us to focus on all the things we are grateful for, everything is a gift, including our very lives. This can help us to see moments of gratitude in these very trying moments.

Integrity often means being honest about who we are. We take responsibility for our own lives. We are able to reflect on our own being, and how we can improve our sense of deep gratitude and become even happier.

Such self reflection is essential if we look at ourselves as a work in progress, and avoid perfectionist tendencies which could become an obstacle to living gratefully.

A way to avoid these perfectionist tendencies is through humility. In fact it is impossible to experience deep gratitude without it. We need to realise that we have only reached this point in our journey with the help of others. We need to find a way of not only paying people back in a meaningful way but also spreading positivity through the ripple effect of gratitude.

It makes us more easily expose our vulnerability, and opens us up to life and to receive assistance from others. It makes us realise and be comfortable with the fact that we are indeed indebted to others.

Life is indeed a work in progress, through these six pillars of gratitude we can remain vigilant and live life gratefully, improving our own lives and that of those around us!