When we are truly grateful, we have a fresh view and see everything through kind, humanitarian eyes. This happens especially when as soon as we accomplish something we longed for. Our lives are so full of new excitements, things we never realized. We are happy to be alive; the world is at our fingertips.
Then slowly, we get into a routine. We begin to take our life, jobs, and family for granted. We now hurriedly drive past the same flower tree without a glance that used to make us smile. We don't notice the chirping of birds or the cool breeze; we get frustrated with something about our partner that we used to think was adorable.
When this happens, we know that we have begun to lose our gratitude.
How do we gain our gratitude back? I wish I could say, "Just write a list of things you're thankful for!" For some, that may work. For me, something needs to hit me square in the face to make me realize how lucky I am. I had this happen to me the other day. On the way to work, I was inwardly complaining about my crappy car, having to get out of bed early, and the stress of planning a wedding. Until I saw a handicapped homeless man, sitting beside a bench, looking starving and somewhat delirious.
I consider it Divine Intervention that this shook me so much. Immediately I was filled with shame of my selfishness. I have health, a job, a car, friends and family who love me. I was then filled with gratitude for my life, and filled with compassion for that man. I wanted to help. It shouldn't take me seeing someone in poverty in order to be grateful for what I have, or to want to help someone.
The first step in gaining gratitude? Noticing you have lost it.