Guidepost #4 Cultivating Gratitude and Joy
Posted by: Ronda Devereaux | July 10, 2012 | 8:00 am
Are you joyful? Are you grateful? Is there a difference? In her research, Brene Brown author of The Gifts of Imperfection makes a unique distinction between these two sought after states of being. She says that everyone she interviewed that described living a joyful life also practiced gratitude and attributed that joy to their gratitude practice. Both joy and gratitude were described as spiritual practices. People were also quick to point out the differences between happiness and joy as the difference between a human emotion that’s connected to circumstances and a spiritual way of engaging with the world that’s connected to practicing gratitude.
Is gratitude an attitude or a behavior? Does gratitude need to be practiced? I think this can be likened to when we describe someone with a child like attitude. Just because they are child like doesn’t mean they go around acting like one. In my consultation with dictionary.com I came up with this –
1. manner, disposition, feeling, position, etc., with regard to a person or thing; tendency or orientation, especially of the mind: a negative attitude; group attitudes.
1. manner of behaving or acting.
2. Psychology, Animal Behavior .
a. observable activity in a human or animal.
b. the aggregate of responses to internal and external stimuli.
Manner or disposition VS behavior. We may be on to something here. Could this be why many Law of Attraction followers fail to obtain their desired results? They are adopting the Law of Attraction as an attitude and not a behavior (ie. They don’t take action??). Is there a difference between being grateful and acting grateful. My middle daughter has an attitude all her own. She is sarcastic and funny. She would never put into action many of the things that she uses to get a laugh out of me (Lord I hope not…). Hmmm. Still pondering and contemplating this one.
It also seems that you can’t have a discussion on joy without having a discussion about happiness. Are they different? Can you have one without the other? What do each of these look like to you? I don’t think we can be in a constant state of either unless we have a direct IV line to the Divine. Happiness is attached to external situations and events and seems to ebb and flow as those circumstances come and go. Joy seems to be constantly tethered to our hearts by spirit and gratitude.
The Greek word for happiness – Makarios – was used to describe the freedom of the rich from normal cares and worries. The Greek word for joy – Chairo –was described as a culmination of being or a good mood of the soul.
So after all the ponderances going on here I would like to put forth the question : What does gratitude look like to you? What about happiness? What about Joy? Then comes the million dollar question, what gets in the way of you practicing gratitude or feeling happiness and joy?
Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy. Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments – often ordinary moments. Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we’re too busy chasing down extraordinary moments. Other time we’re so afraid of the dark that we don’t dare let ourselves enjoy the light.
Actually I am feeling really grateful for this beautiful summer rain storm as I am sitting on my porch writing this blog. It also makes me happy because I grew up in Oregon and it reminds me of home. Joyful would be for me to go running in the middle of the street stamping in puddles. The whole puddles thing would definitely put a good mood in my soul, anyone want to come with me?