Finding pleasure in small things makes all the difference, because the effect is cumulative. It's easy to take day-to-day experiences for granted, but doing so is to miss out on the greatest opportunities for appreciation. A smile, a thank you, a door opened, a compliment, a favor, an unexpected gesture of kindness; these things and more create countless opportunities to express gratitude.
Gratitude is not a state of entitlement; it’s a posture of appreciation. Actions mean more when they're not expected and when we know that they're optional. When someone does something for you simply because they want to, but not because they must, the meaning is genuine.
Sadly, I've witnessed what happens when people miss the positive intent of others and instead find something to complain about as a result of something that was done for or to them. Perhaps the gesture didn't suit them just right, the colors weren't perfect, or the thing didn't perform as hoped. Their complaints turn them into self-appointed victims and quickly cause others to seek distance from them. A perfect opportunity for gratitude instead leads to isolation.
To stop here is to miss the even bigger picture, however. Most of the things for which we should be grateful aren't specifically done for us as individuals; they are bigger than any person. The natural beauty of our world, our health, our families and our freedom are paramount among the reasons to express gratitude for where and how we live. To express gratitude is to not take these incredible things for granted.
There is always something to complain about if you look for it. Conversely, there are countless reasons for gratitude as you experience the world around you. Like most things in life, gratitude is a choice. Amazingly, when you feel grateful the world looks different and better; your positive outlook has a way of leading to opportunity and progress. Expressing gratitude is the best possible way to enjoy the journey. What are you grateful for today?