On Gratitude: 3 Lessons This Realist Needs to Learn

3. Habits of gratitude can start small

Brooks encourages his readers to have “interior gratitude, exterior gratitude, and gratitude for useless things.” The last one is the most interesting and the least difficult. Being thankful for small aspects of our life and our relationships – a cozy sweater, a warm cup of coffee, the comfort of holding hands.

As my husband and I stood in the pouring rain, shoes soaked and behind schedule, we walked along the waterfront and saw a covered market. Live music was playing inside and the smell of local food lured us in. We walked around trying local food samples, touching soft wool of handmade goods, and watching locals interact with their neighbors.

We walked out and my husband turned to me and said, “Wasn’t that amazing? Thanks for letting us stop in.” It was a quick comment, one he has made a thousand times. This was my moment to start small. So, as Brooks encourages, I decided to “rebel against the emotional authenticity that holds me back from bliss,” turned toward my husband, and said, “You are right, that was amazing. Thanks for encouraging us to go in.” The comment wasn’t quite automatic, it wasn’t quite realistic, but it did help frame the day in a whole new way.

Read 7 Mental Habits That Make You Feel Bitter With Time

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