Charles Darwin himself suggested that humans and other animals –
“Share the same emotions, even the more complex ones such as jealousy, suspicion, and gratitude.”
More recent research has proven Darwin’s belief correct.
Researchers studied animals who cannot express gratitude through verbal language.
The scientists found the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit—is at the heart of gratitude behavior.
As humans, our ability to express our emotions through language, reciprocity, and gratitude often go together.
When someone is kind to us, and we return the favor, that is a form of direct reciprocity that we expect.
As recipients of acts of kindness and thoughtfulness, we are more likely to help not only the person who bestowed kindness but a third party as well.
This ripple effect of indirect reciprocity is a powerful tool for cultivating gratitude.
Gratitude involves a humble recognition that we are interdependent, that we need one another.
In fact, the strength of this recognition has led to a movement.
You’ve most likely heard of this from the movie “Pay It Forward”.
Whereby strangers perform acts of kindness with the hope that others will do the same.
Give it a try!
Find one person who you can do something for without any expectation of them doing something in return.
Here are some examples:
– Buy the person in line behind you a cup of coffee (I’ve done this one many times and love this act!).
– Send someone on your team a note just to thank them.
– Let someone go in front of you in line, who only has a few items.
– Leave a petrol or gas gift card at a gas pump.
– Return shopping carts for people at the grocery store.
Would you would like to flex your gratitude muscle?
You might like to try my Ho’oponopono Gratitude Meditation which is free on YouTube.
There is no limit to what you can do!
Do something unexpected, and watch what happens.