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Leading Blog: A Leadership Blog

The Roman statesman Cicero wrote, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” Even Adam Smith, the economist that believed that the market should be driven by self-interest, expressed in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, his belief that feelings of gratitude are crucial for maintaining a society that is based on goodwill.

It is returning a favor, giving thanks, showing appreciation or simply giving someone your time and attention.

Cicero said, “There is no duty more indispensable than that of returning a kindness.” Ingratitude has been called the “essence of vileness” and “the most horrible and unnatural crime that a person is capable of committing.” It is a moral issue that impacts our lives and thinking in significant ways.

When we are full of pride, angry, frustrated, depressed, defensive, stressed, irritated or anxious, we would do well take a time-out and uncover our ungratefulness.

We shouldn’t think of gratitude as something that happens at certain moments throughout our life.

Real gratitude doesn’t appear at moments in our life, but it is a disposition we have towards life.

You may remember Blanch Dubois’s classic statement in Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire, where she said that she always depended on “the kindness of strangers”—people she didn’t know and may never see again.

The autonomous person rejects gratitude precisely because they must recognize and submit to others in this way.

I can invalidate them.” The autonomous don’t want to recognize others so that they can justify treating them any way they want.

Gratitude moderates and even inhibits toxic emotions but more than that, it gives birth to positive emotions.

Gratitude gives birth to and nurtures patience, a sense of humor, curiosity, creativity, insight, kindness, respect, courage, generosity, empathy, and positivity to name a few.

When you answer the call you are all “sugar and spice and everything nice.” When it’s over you go right back into your angry rant.

And day to day, life’s a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern.” It’s easy for any of us to lose the pattern, to lose the narrative, to forget what we are doing this all for if we never step back and see the bigger picture with gratitude.