Tiger Eye Solution

Stages of Gratitude

Stages of Gratitude

 

People can use gratitude to form new social relations or to strengthen current ones.

Acts of gratitude can be used to apologize, make amends and help solve other problems.

Alternatively, people may feel gracious because it can be an intrinsically rewarding process. Simply being grateful for being alive is a great way to motivate oneself to seize the day.

The idea that tomorrow is not guaranteed is a strong motivator for some people to be their “best self” today.

Two Stages of Gratitude

According to Dr. Robert Emmons, the feeling of gratitude involves two stages (2003):

  1. First comes the acknowledgment of goodness in one’s life. In a state of gratitude, we say yes to life. We affirm that all in all, life is good, and has elements that make worth living, and rich in texture. The acknowledgment that we have received something gratifies us, both by its presence and by the effort the giver put into choosing it.
  2. Second, gratitude is recognizing that some of the sources of this goodness lie outside the self. One can be grateful to other people, to animals, and to the world, but not to oneself. At this stage, we recognize the goodness in our lives and who to thank for it, ie., who made sacrifices so that we could be happy?

The two stages of gratitude comprise the recognition of the goodness in our lives, and then how this goodness came to us externally lies. By this process, we recognize the luck of everything that makes our lives—and ourselves—better.

Why Gratitude Works

Gratitude is a selfless act. Its acts are done unconditionally, to show to people that they are appreciated. “A gift that is freely given” is one way to understand what these acts are like.

For example, if someone is sad and you write them a note of appreciation, you are likely not asking for something in return for this person; instead, you are reminding them of their value, and expressing gratitude for their existence. At the moment, you are not waiting for a “return note” from this person.

Even when we do not expect a return, sometimes they happen. Gratitude can be contagious, in a good way. In the previous example, maybe when you are down, this person will write you a note too.

Here are two processes gratitude can influence.

1. Catharsis

Catharsis is the process in which an individual releases strong emotions.

For example, after a stressful or traumatic event, crying provides a means for such a strong release, rendering the activity cathartic. Catharsis works with gratitude.

To illustrate this, consider the guilt associated with “failing” to meet obligations. Perhaps in this situation, you would express gratitude to who you let down, in an attempt to release that guilt. The acts are meant to convey the appreciation that the friends possess, despite a recent disappointment.

Additionally, possessions from passed loved ones may provide a sense of serenity that enables the new owner to reflect with gratitude on that object and in essence, that person.

The use of gratitude serves as an agent of catharsis, where both parties feel satisfied in the end.

2. Reciprocity

Reciprocity, as a concept from social psychology, is about the exchanging of actions.

In this case, it is about the exchange of positive emotion. When someone performs an act of gratitude for another person, in turn, that person may be motivated to do something gracious for the former person or continue the favor for a stranger.

Imagine having coffee or a meal with a friend, and they politely demand to pay for the outing. You may quibble back and forth about splitting the bill, but should they insist, you are likely to feel grateful, and an extended duty that the next meal is “your treat.”

In essence, this is exactly how reciprocity works.

 

How do you show Gratitude?