Gratitude is a big word. It has taken on an even bigger meaning for me after my recent exposure to Positive Psychology. Suddenly, there are so many more things I feel grateful for.
I am grateful for big things—for not having ridden a vehicle that was eventually involved in an accident (and not losing my life); having parents who valued education and made sure it was accessible to me; for true friends who continue to be there for me, even if they have moved to other parts of the country and the world; for children who have become my friends—the list goes on and on. But these are big things.
When asked to think of 3 small things to be grateful for that happened yesterday, I thought for a second and realized how thankful I was to have found chicken thigh fillet with skins on for a recipe I had wanted to try; for having chanced upon caramel popcorn with cashews—my treat as a diabetic; and for the cool air in the training room I have stayed in for the past two days.
I am really grateful for all these and I do express my gratitude whenever I can and I realize that saying ‘Thank you’ isn’t all there is to it. In some cases, I know I can do more— like pagtanaw ng utang na loob. Even as a child, I was always reminded to say thank you. My father once told me that he hadn’t thanked my husband enough for his thoughtfulness. In tears, he said my husband knew, without asking him, what would make him happy! My mother would often say, “if you don’t say thank you, they wouldn’t know you appreciate it”. She passed away in 2007, although Alzheimer’s took her away from me years earlier. How does one show gratitude to a person who doesn’t even recognize you anymore? Passively, perhaps, but also by doing to others what I would have done to show her my gratitude.
Utang na Loob
It’s tragic when we sometimes misinterpret “pagtanaw ng utang na loob”. For example, some politicians make their benefactors and donors untouchable by putting them above the law. There are also times when these same politicians expect complete allegiance (which includes turning away or taking the blame when they do something wrong) from those they give favors to. Pagtanaw ng utang na loob is something that any giver does not expect nor exact from the recipient of his good deeds. People in public service must keep in mind that they are not merely leaders but servants as well and must not expect “pagtanaw ng utang na loob” from their constituents or those they serve. They must remember that service is a duty, an obligation that comes with the power conferred on them by those who put them in office.
Gratitude comes from the heart—being truly thankful for whatever we are given, whether or not it was an obligation or duty being fulfilled.
I think I was able to show a little gratitude to my parents every now and then but I knew I had to do more. Even in her lucid moments, my mother never made me feel that I had to repay her for everything she did for me. She often told me how sad she was for losing her parents in her teens and that all she wanted was for us to be happy—now that’s a lot to be thankful for. So, I figured, I need to do more.
Passing it On
I have decided to learn to pass it on to others, especially the elderly. I am also grateful for having been given this chance to learn about Positive Psychology, which I intend to learn to practice and hopefully, pass on. As I encounter opportunities to be grateful and express it, gratitude becomes even bigger— in fact, it has given me hope— hope for a better world.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.