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OP-ED: Gratitude does wonders

  • Published at 06:42 pm September 21st, 2021

If we can foster a culture of giving back, the world will be a better place to live in

The other day, I was sitting in my office and poring over some important documents. Right then, my office attendant came in and started mopping the floor. I see him every day, but suddenly, a thought crossed my mind. 

He remains busy all day long cleaning the whole premises so that all of us can stay safe and every nook and cranny of the campus looks neat and tidy always. It was my moment of epiphany -- I got up from my seat and took a moment to thank him for all toils he takes every day. 

The attendant was taken aback completely at first while he was trying to make sense of what’s going on. Bewildered and disoriented, he could not understand the situation. I embraced him instantly and uttered a few kind words directed towards him as a gesture of gratitude for his hard work. That man looked so happy, as if no one had ever appreciated his work. 

After that day, his nature as well as pattern of work changed almost overnight. Earlier, whereas we sometimes had to call him time and again to clean the floor, now we don’t need to reach for him. Rather, he always remains ready to serve anyone anywhere. 

The aforementioned instance is a clear example of how a simple gesture of gratitude, which can be defined as “an attitude of appreciation,” in other words, can not only create positive vibes, but also inspire people to walk the extra mile.    

Our feeling of gratitude stems from a positive attitude or an attitude of appreciation that propagates into many other positive emotions, all of which can combine to create a happy feeling and make someone a happy being actually. Our happiness depends on how grateful we are to others and our life to a great extent.    

The problem is that we take everything for granted. But the moment we will change this mindset and start feeling grateful for whatever good is happening to us, we will feel much more pleased and jolly. Just imagine, have you ever thanked your mother for keeping awake all night long just to take care of you during your illness or your co-worker for taking extra burden when you were absent from the office for some urgency? 

If you take a moment to appreciate their efforts, you will feel positive emotions inside you. This positive feeling will secrete happy hormones in your brain, which will make you cheerful. In the long run, these people around you who you are appreciating every day will feel the same way towards you. And when a feeling of gratitude prevails among everyone, it will help develop an ambience that will be good for your mind as well as your health. Working or living in a healthy environment always begets good things. This way, just a gesture of gratitude can make a person happier and help feel more complacent in life.         

Well, being grateful alone is not enough. When more and more people feel the same way, there is maximum possibility of greater happiness and a congenial atmosphere. To do so, it is important that we strive to cultivate this culture and instill this value in the people we usually remain surrounded by. 

So, how can we actually cultivate this feeling? One good way is to be humble and be kind to others. When you consider everyone around you in a kind way, you will start noticing even the tiniest contribution from their side and learn to appreciate those. Most importantly, share what you feel. Even if you feel grateful to someone, but you don’t express it, then it will not have positive impacts. The moment you share your words of appreciation and gratitude, you will end up feeling more confident and glad.          

Yesterday was World Gratitude Day. So, this is a befitting time to celebrate the power of gratitude and express it as well to the people who deserve it. At a time when the world is reeling from the wounds caused by the coronavirus, it will be a sacred job to express our gratitude to the real-life heroes -- our doctors, nurses, and health care workers -- who have strained every nerve to serve humanity and help us fight against the virus putting their own lives on the line. 

They are the real champions of humanity, as they have sacrificed their own lives, and are jeopardizing it every day to save us from the rogue virus. The human race, I think, should be forever beholden to them for their persistent efforts and commitment.   

On the occasion of World Gratitude Day, we should commit to ourselves that just like any other positive energy, we will also try to make the feeling of gratitude contagious, so that it influences other people. Just like charity begins at home, we will also have to begin this right from the schools, so that our kids grow up learning the value of gratitude and giving back to society for the greater welfare. 

This culture of giving back as a token of love and gratitude should be replicated in other places as well, so that the practice of appreciating others turns into a part of our tradition. If we could truly develop the habit of being grateful to others, our society will surely be a better place to live in.         

Bijo Kurian is Vice-Principal (VP), DPS STS School Dhaka.

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