Can Gratitude Be a Bad Thing? Yes!

You have to be a little nuts to intentionally choose ingratitude. But bad gratitude is a reality.

Let’s begin with good gratitude.

Good gratitude:

“Ingratitude is always a kind of weakness. I have never known men of ability to be ungrateful.” Goethe

Gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression. Robert A. Emmons

Gratitude lowers the desire for revenge and holding grudges by enhancing empathy and lowering aggression. Nathan DeWall

Gratitude indirectly buffers suicide. Science Direct

Gratitude contributes to positive relationships. Wood, Joseph, et al. Expressing gratitude helps you connect

Gratitude defeats…

  1. Pessimism.
  2. Entitlement. “What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.” Brene’ Brown
  3. Complaining.
  4. Blaming.
  5. Envy.

Gratitude enables the genius of and:

  1. Pursue excellence and celebrate progress.
  2. Notice strengths and address deficiencies.
  3. Embrace happiness and reject complacency.
  4. Feel powerful and allow for the contribution of others.
  5. Practice autonomy and inter-dependence.

Bad gratitude:

Arrogance transforms good to bad.

Gratitude that springs from superiority is bad gratitude.

Bad gratitude springs from negative comparison.

Examples of bad gratitude:

  1. I’m thankful I’m not a screw up like she is.
  2. I’m thankful I’m more talented than the people on my team.
  3. I’m thankful I’ve already learned the lessons he needs to learn.

Arrogant gratitude justifies itself by comparing itself with less talented or successful people.

Arrogant gratitude vindicates itself by raising standards for others and lowering standards for itself.

Curing bad gratitude:

#1. Compare yourself to your future best self, not the weaknesses, faults, or slow progress of others.

How far do YOU have to go? Not, how superior you are to others.

#2. Acknowledge that many advantages are matters of good fortune. You were born in a prosperous country, for example.

#3. Realize the faults you see in others are often reflections of your own. Carl Jung said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

How might leaders solve the challenge of bad gratitude?