Gratitude—More than We Think

"Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done."

Gratitude is powerful. It has the power to shift our thinking and attitudes. I’ve always loved the saying: “I used to complain about my shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” There will always be people worse off than you. Focusing on what we do have however, the good within our circumstances, can have powerful outcomes. states: “Gratitude is an uplifting, exalting attitude. People are generally happier when they have gratitude in their hearts. We cannot be bitter, resentful, or mean-spirited when we are grateful.”

I heard someone give a prayer who once said, "we are grateful for the circumstances that brought us here to the temple. That was a new angle of gratitude I hadn’t thought of before. Instead of being grateful for the thing itself, what about all the other blessings along the way to bring us to that point? It made me think of all the tiny details and tender mercies that happened that day to allow me to be where I was. There is never a shortage of things to be grateful for.

Saying prayers of gratitude, writing lists of things we are grateful for, and contemplating our blessings is important, but maybe it’s a little more than that—maybe gratitude grows even more in us when we show it, too.

One afternoon last week a man snapped some pictures of a women standing in front of a statue at our apartment complex. The woman then immediately grabbed at the phone and they wrestled with it until the man let the woman grab it out of his hands. Her body language showed anger—he hadn’t taken the picture right. He then stormed off and she began taking an endless number of selfies. He turned back once to look, then kept walking; she just kept on in selfie mode. And from the one glance of this entire situation I was able to get from my front window while picking up toys, I could tell what described this couple in this moment was anger, frustration, and sadness. She cared more about the picture than about the person standing in front of her.

And here I am typing what I saw out my window as my kids are playing together on the floor in front of me. Maybe what we should be grateful for—or show more gratitude for—are those things staring right at us.

Maybe it’s more than just being grateful for good health. It’s making an active effort to continuously take care of our bodies.

Maybe gratitude is more than just being thankful for our monetary blessings, it’s using it to bless the lives of others.

Being grateful for our food could mean even sharing our abundance with others.

Maybe gratitude for family and friends means putting down the phone and soaking in the moments with the people right in front of us.

President Thomas S. Monson has taught, “To express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven.”

So instead of just listing things I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving Day and every day after, I’m going to try to show it more—and live it more.

Jessica Dyer currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where her husband is pursuing a PhD in Accounting at UNC and is loving all of the great sunshine and basketball that Chapel Hill has to offer. She is a mom to two cute little kids and to one angel baby. She graduated from BYU in English Language and Editing but has had the opportunity right now to be at home with the kids and is loving all the crazy and fun that comes with that.

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