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Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

And did you get what

You wanted from this life, even so?

I did.

And what did you want?

To call myself beloved,

To feel myself beloved on the earth.

~Raymond Carver in“Late Fragment”

One of the characteristics that sets the blue ribbon relationships apart from the rest of the pack is the tendency for both partners to live in a state of appreciation for all the ways they enhance each other’s lives. They live with an attitude of gratitude that prompts them to continually seek out ways to make each other’s lives easier, more pleasurable, more enriched, and more fun. They make it a point to do this through various acts of assistance and support, spontaneously offering words of acknowledgment, kindness, small gestures of affection, and physical touch that say, “I love you”. In a variety of imaginative ways, they show up, are present, notice the tiniest things, and are generous of spirit. They know better than to take things for granted.

Even couples who have been together for fifty years or more still deserve to hear the words, “Thank you”, when they have done something that has enhanced the well-being of the home or the relationship. And contrary to popular movies, love does not mean never having to say you’re sorry. They know, in fact that when you love someone, you can’t help but say “I’m sorry” when you’ve done or said something, intentionally or inadvertently that has caused pain or distress to them. They notice and express appreciation for even the smallest actions because they never take their relationship for granted.

The word “appreciation” has two definitions: “thankful recognition” and “an increase in value”. When things appreciate, they grow in value. Loving relationships embody both meanings because they not only involve expressions of thankful recognition to each other, but in doing so they are increasing the value of the relationship.

By taking advantage of the countless opportunities that present themselves on a daily basis to offer sincere gratitude through our words and behaviors, we are doing more to enhance each other’s mutual well-being than giving each other anything that money can buy. Literally!

Many of the people we’ve known and worked with who engage in acts that embody a “generosity of spirit” haven’t always been this way. They’ve learned from their experiences that “what goes around, comes around”. We refer to this understanding as “enlightened self interest” or the recognition that when I do something that is intended to enhance the well being of another, my own well-being is correspondingly enhanced. When two people in a relationship share this understanding, a positive cycle of reciprocal generosity is created which generates its own momentum and becomes self-perpetuating. When this cycle is in place, the relationship spirals upward and the sky’s the limit.

 


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Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

Bloomwork

Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW are considered experts in the field of relationships. They have been married since 1972. They have both been trained as seminar leaders, therapists and relationship counselors and have been working with individuals, couples, and groups since 1975. They have been featured presenters at numerous conferences, universities, and institutions of learning throughout the country and overseas as well. They have appeared on over two hundred radio and TV programs. Linda and Charlie are co-authors of the widely acclaimed books: 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last (over 100,000 copies sold) Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love, and Happily Ever After...and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams. The Blooms are excited to announce the release of their fourth book, That Which Doesn't Kill Us: How One Couple Became Stronger at the Broken Places. They live in Santa Cruz, California, near their two children and three grandchildren. To view our upcoming events and to sign up for our free newsletter, visit our website at: www.Bloomwork.com


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APA Reference
Bloom, L. (2019). Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 25, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/relationship-skills/2019/02/2873/

 

Last updated: 27 Feb 2019
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Feb 2019
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.