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Emotions and Wants

Does Gratitude mean no negative emotions and no wants?

The Part 3 of “The How To’s of Daily Gratitude” clarifies another common Gratitude misconception.

Misconception 5. With Gratitude, I will never feel negative, anxious, sad etc and have no wants.

Actual: We all are human, not machines.  Having deep Gratitude means a substantial reduction in negativity, fear, anxiety, sadness etc and fewer unreasonable wants (excluding physiological change). The negative emotions may be still present, albeit in smaller and manageable amounts.

The Effect of Focus.  The reason for reduced negativity is when we focus our attention on things we are grateful for, we focus less on negative emotions  Focusing on amplifies feelings, focusing away reduces feelings.

Girl Taking Vaccination Jabs at Age Three!

The Benefits of Good Experiences.  Just like when we take a measles etc jab when we were kids, the medical staff will get us to focus away momentarily to allay our fears, preventing us from jerking away and causing more (real) pain etc.  Some of us did not even know that the immunization was done, due to the focus away.  With that (good) experience, the next time we go for a jab, we tend to have much less fear, hence can manage better.  

Reaonable Emotional Experiences in Adverse Situations.  Similarly, if a kid had a bad emotional experience with a immunization procedure, he or she will probably be more hysterical over the prospect of a tooth extraction!  Reaonable emotional experiences in adverse situations build emotional balance and strength.  Excessive emotions do not.

Same Girl at Age Five: Been there, Done that! (Just a Little Pain)

The Authentic Choice Few Choose!  Feeling less excessive emotions due to reduced focus also does not negate our authenticity, nor mean the emotion is not there.  It is just the wisdom and strength to focus on the important and good, to keep our negative emotions managed at a level that reduces paralysis, un-informed reaction, self or mutual self destruction.  

Like the illustrated situations, managing our excessive emotions gives a more meaningfully positive outcome, and give us emotional balance and perspective the next time we face difficulties.


Negative Focus.  Focusing on the excessive negative emotions is similar to focusing on the Irrelevant in Misconception 2.  Feeling excessive emotions does not mean that Gratitude and Positivity is not present at all times. Rather, Gratitude may be either present in weak form, temporarily disabled etc, frequently due to focus but occasionally due to physiology. Due to focus mostly, the Negative overwhelms the Positive, even when the actual situation frequently requires little to no negativity.

Gentle Awareness.  With focus on the Relevant/Important Good, Gratitude and reasonable Positivity, the role negative feelings and wants mostly serve will be more as gentle awareness  and empathy (for many, steady and alert backseat passengers/traffic lights), rather than the emotional and distracted driver/panic button.  Reasonable positivity will be in the driving seat, and negative feelings or excessive wants will be less able to cause any unnecessary disaster.  8388294551_bd815cf446_b

Traffic and Traffic Lights.  Functioning Traffic Lights and
Undistracted, Alert Drivers and Passengers Means Less Accidents

Contentment, Purpose and Reasonable Wants. Similarly, grateful people will have reasonable, achievable, low cost wants, but not excessive ones, hence a lower resource drain (less taxing and more surplus), fewer wild-goose chases and a better chance of maintaining happiness.  Grateful people achieve/have a very achievable baseline contentment, with easy long term surplus/buffer.  The journey and/or achievement of purposeful and reasonable goals etc are bonus. 


With true Gratitude and the free choice to focus on blessings, there are emotions and wants, but the excessive are reduced.  (We exclude the discussion of physiological changes for now)

Negative emotions now play the role of empathy and extra awareness, and have lesser chance of wrecking havoc.

Finally, the reasonable emotional experiences that Gratitude promotes in adverse situations helps builds emotional balance/bank account and strength, and ultimately bolster us in future difficult situations!

Thank you for reading and/or sharing!

Media Credits:photo credit: More alive via photopin (license), Luckygirl314, Unsplash

Common Misconceptions Debunked in Previous Post

Misconception 1: Reason for Gratitude – I have no reason to be grateful
Misconception 2. Boredom – Grateful people lead boring monotonous lives
Misconception 3. Gratitude is a Feeling – Either, I feel it or I do not

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Misconception 4. Gratitude and contentment means we do not work for improvements, and are deaf to problems.


For a Future Post:

Misconception 6:  I am grateful for this holiday, so I am going to maximize enjoyment through packing it with as many fun-filled activities and things as I can. 

Appreciation and Nurture

Many appreciate only after loss.  But perhaps it is instead that we frequently lose, that which we did not appreciate.  

The Part 2 of “The How To’s of Daily Gratitude” clarifies another common Gratitude misconception.

Misconception 4. Gratitude and contentment means we do not work for improvements, and are deaf to problems.

Actual:   The inverse is more the norm.


Learning about Our Blessings

Interest.  True Gratitude means appreciation and interest for how things work.  Deeply grateful people are frequently more aware and alert to issues, simply because they do not take daily blessings for granted.  They know that hard work, sacrifice and even “chance” was required for the daily.

Deep gratitude knows how precious the beautiful are, asks who or what made it happen, how did it happen, how can giving back be done, and if sharing and longevity can be encouraged?

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Nurturing and Protecting Green Shoots

Nurture and Protect.  Where possible, deeply grateful people take reasonable (not excessive) steps to nurture and protect blessings.  They leave less to chance, but do not overdo in detriment of other loves.  Deeply grateful people do not “enjoy and forget”, nor squander love, friendships, wealth or resources.  They appreciate and know they should use their gifts well ,and look for the best outcome possible.

Hence, other conditions equal, deep gratitude makes people more alert to real issues, more nurturing and active in solution than others .


Shoots Growing into Trees Through Nurture and Time

Use it or lose it.  On the point of working for improvements, the Grateful similarly do not squander ability and opportunity.  Gratitude for our abilities and opportunities spurs us to work towards our potential, and to give back to our loved ones and others while doing so.  Hence, a truly grateful person is more likely to work for reasonable improvements than a less attuned person.  Furthermore, the bonus joy of working on our purpose in view of our abilities and resources, is no less than that of working for any want.


We should strive to be deeply grateful.  Daily Gratitude, understanding, nurturing, protecting, improving.   To nurture our blessings, to improve and to work for the best outcome.  

In short, True Gratitude is a virtuous cycle of “Appreciation and Nurture, Nurture and Appreciation”!

Thank you for reading and/or sharing your views!

Previous Post

Misconception 1: Reason for Gratitude – I have no reason to be grateful
Misconception 2. Boredom – Grateful people lead boring monotonous lives
Misconception 3. Gratitude is a Feeling – Either, I feel it or I do not

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For future posts.

Misconception 5. With Gratitude, I will never feel negative, anxious, sad etc and have no wants.

Image Credits: Clayton Sieg, Stephen Wolfe, Magnus Franklin, Gastavo Devito

The How-To’s of Daily Gratitude

Who achieves Gratitude, reaps rewards.  Satisfied with blessings, the grateful are predisposed to joy, and direct less resource or effort in upkeep.

While interdependence customarily necessitates reciprocity, Gratitude is very much a personal choice.  

The How-To’s of Gratitude

A list of clarifications is compiled below. 


Misconception 1: I have No reason to be Grateful

Actual: There are great much we take for granted: many already won the lottery!  Food, water, shelter etc and the chance to grow.  We can be mostly happy if we count our blessings.  Surplus, improving and giving back are bonuses!  

Other reasons for Gratitude are practical.  The grateful spend and risk less for the same level of bliss.  They have daily sources of happiness, and are able to focus on the important.

Misconception 2. Boredom – Grateful people lead boring monotonous lives

Actual: Gratitude endows a zest for life.  Grateful people appreciate the great beauty and opportunity present that others are too busy, fearful, anxious, angry or sad to notice.  Life is ever-changing and brings new beauty and lessons every day.  New friends, old friends, changing seasons, bustle or quiet, daily encounters with nature, a myriad of constant change.

Essentially, grateful people are more appreciative, and the beauty that they experience is within easy reach.

Misconception 3.  Gratitude is a Feeling –  Either, I feel it or I do not.

Actual:  Granted, Gratitude is a feeling, but daily Gratitude is not just the “tactless” extension of the emotional.  Like a baby learning to walk, we need to develop a degree of understanding, “strength and dexterity” to unlock daily Gratitude.

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Understanding. A deeper understanding (of things we take for granted brings greater appreciation.  A deeper understanding of how Gratitude works helps maintain gratefulness, and avoids excessive negative emotions that overwhelm reasonable Gratitude and happiness.

Strength and Dexterity. Practice makes perfect.  The longer we stay grateful, the easier daily Gratitude will be.

Some actions we can take:

a. Taking time to appreciate our blessings is a way to help us enjoy and engage with the beautiful and important.  Spending and appreciating happy time with family, friends and things we love etc. Writing and re-reading Gratitude journals can also help some remind  themselves of the beautiful and important..


b. Ignoring or isolating the irrelevant (the unpleasant but transient; excessive wants) keeps the irrelevant fleeting.

c. Humour, learning from the experiences of others, finding inspiration, avoiding (emotional) situations like being tired and late in the morning due to late nights etc are just some of a multitude of ways to help keep us sane enough to smell the flowers along the way.

Thanks for reading and/or sharing your views.

P.S.: Above post edited for clarity.

Claims and clarifications 4 & 5 in a future post –

Misconception 4. Gratitude and basic contentment means grateful people do not work for improvements, and are deaf to problems.

Misconception 5. With Gratitude, I will never feel negative, anxious, sad and have no wants.

Image Credits: Gustavo Devito, Diego Torres, Camdiluv,