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What Is Gratitude For?


The scarcity of a commodity

In a society of affluence, the last thing we have access to is gratitude. How can we explain this paradox? Is it the fact of possessing that makes us hostage to our own possessions? Or is it that the consumerist ideology is incompatible with gratitude because it induces an ungrateful satiety?

Gratitude = happiness?

Gratitude is a central question in that it is intimately linked to happiness. How to live fully and in a fulfilled way if we do not feel a form of gratitude? This is the consequence or the cause of well-being. How can we cultivate gratitude in the midst of abundance that pushes us to constantly desire more and prevents us from stopping to appreciate what we already have?

Gratitude is good for your mental health

Gratitude, more than an ingredient of happiness, is above all a virtue that protects us from the alienation caused by possession or even a form of madness. Let me explain. The absence of gratitude implies a lack of detachment between our possessions and ourselves. An ungrateful person is ungrateful above all because he no longer distinguishes what he is from the things he owns. Their objects are a direct extension of their identity and it is primarily for this reason that they are unable to feel gratitude; it is a given for them.

The absence of gratitude is the mark of a blindness

The same is true for human relationships: ingratitude often manifests itself because we take the other for granted and no longer feel the need to sanctify a relationship that has become an extension of ourselves.

The absence of gratitude is therefore often a sign of the absence of distancing between the object of desire and oneself. It necessarily results from this an alienation which designates “any form of enslavement of the human being because of external constraints (economic, political, cultural, social) leading to the loss of his faculties, of his freedom”. An ungrateful person loses his faculty of judgment because he is possessed.

Gratitude is part of happiness because it allows one to avoid madness, which is by definition prohibitive to maintain a state of well-being.

Finally, consumerism contains in filigree the intention to make us adhere to the idea of satisfying a desire for the absolute through consumption. Thus, values as strong as freedom, perfection or eternity (through the youthism it promotes) push us to buy endlessly because, by definition, they cannot be satisfied. Gratitude puts a stop to this mad race by accepting our situation and finally seeking relative values such as “a little more freedom”, “a little more satisfaction” etc.

Gratitude needs practice

In order to be grateful, we need to get into the habit of missing. If you have never lacked anything, you will not be able to see the value of what you have. We must therefore appreciate periods of scarcity and lack in general, because it is in these moments that we can deepen our knowledge of our being and stop living in lightness and superficiality only.

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