Gratitude is a lot of things.
Gratitude is a personality trait, a mood, and an emotion.
As an emotion, gratitude is a feeling of happiness that comes from appreciation. While in a grateful mood, grateful emotions are more likely be present.
Those with a more grateful personalities are more likely to experience grateful moods and emotions.
Gratitude is a core component of many religions. For example: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all encourage gratitude to others. (But especially towards God.)
From a secular perspective, gratitude is one of the most effective methods for increasing long-term life satisfaction.
I just got back from a ten week journey through India. It started out as a two week sightseeing trip with the family, but my mother country had different plans for me.
It was day two, and we had just gotten back from viewing the sights of Delhi – an ancient fort, a modern bazaar, a few beautiful temples. We were all exhausted, so we went straight to bed.
But a few hours later, I woke for a midnight dalliance. I was driven by a compulsion.
I just had to go to the freaking bathroom.
It was a romance that grew only stronger with time – what was supposed to be just a once-off encounter became an unbreakable habit. It started with food poisoning, but turned into something more – cough, cold, sore throat, and finally, fever.
In between I also managed to visit the Taj Mahal, ride an elephant, and a bunch of other fun touristy stuff. Which was all nice, but not the reason I decided to say back an extra two months.
No, it wasn’t because I was trying to lose weight, although food poisoning can do wonders for the waistline. It was because I had encountered a philosophy of life which bewildered me, and because I’d spent half of my time sightseeing and the other half sick, I’d had little time left over for the real cultural experience – mingling with the locals.
It was my first trip to India since I was a baby – my parents left in their twenties, and for 22 years didn’t go back. Now as an adult, I understand why my parents kept me away for so long, and why they tried to convince me not to extend my trip – just like I try to escape the materialism of my culture, my parents tried to escape the ‘laziness’ of theirs.
But I had been intrigued, so I stayed an extra two months.
The last time I was on a date, things got awkward.
In itself, nothing new – on my best behavior, I’m unique. Loosened up by alcohol, I turn a bit weird.
It started off normal. Following my own advice, we were eating at the highest rated Italian restaurant in New York City.
I hadn’t had a single expensive meal since quitting my eat-caviar-for-free consulting job. So I ordered an orgasm-in-your-mouth quality steak.
No surprise, it was so good that I wanted to savor the experience. Several times that evening I closed my eyes, stopped paying attention to the sounds around me, and focused exclusively on my sense of taste – on the complex, absolutely delicious waves of flavor washing over my tongue. My mouth may have curled into a creepy smile.
I tried explaining what I was doing – that it wasn’t because she was boring that my eyes were closing. I don’t know if she believed me, but whatever. It was worth it.Continue reading