Thieves of Thankfulness – Why Cynics Struggle with Gratitude
Research indicates the top three thieves of thankfulness are narcissism, cynicism, and envy/materialism. Narcissism tops the list. Second on the list is cynicism.
The original cynic philosopher, Antisthenes, taught in a gymnasium outside Athens called The Silver Hound. Diogenes is the most famous cynic. He criticized social values and institutions believing they were corrupt. He is the founder of Stoicism.
The word came to mean a sneering sarcastic person.
Cynics lean toward ingratitude.
A cynic believes only selfishness motivates people and disbelieves selfless acts.
You might be a cynic if you:
- Are frequently sarcastic.
- Loath cute animal pictures on Facebook.
- Think compliments are usually fake.
- Believe people usually want something from you.
- Think people who are struggling are faking it.
- Lean toward mistrust.
- Reject optimism in favor of skepticism.
Being cynical has its uses. If you weren’t at least a little cynical, you’d actually believe everything on the news.
Cynical about gratitude:
Gratitude doesn’t necessarily eliminate unhappiness; it’s a magnifier of positive emotion.
Robert Emmons writes, “When people are grateful, they aren’t necessarily free of negative emotions—we don’t find that they necessarily have less anxiety or less tension or less unhappiness. Practicing gratitude magnifies positive feelings more than it reduces negative feelings.”
4 benefits of gratitude:
- Grateful people cope with stress in healthy ways.
- Grateful people benefit from the support of others.
- Gratitude can help you control your responses to negative events.
- Gratitude can help you be less impatient.
- Reject the myth of self-sufficiency.
- Reflect on limitations.
- Notice how you rely on others.
Gratitude and humility are playmates that support each other.
Part 1 of Thieves of Gratitude explains the relationship of narcissism and gratitude.
Four Ways to Practice Gratitude When you Don’t Feel Grateful
Of all the things I am grateful for in my life, high on the list is that I was raised from childhood to have an “attitude of gratitude.” Gratitude and humility are mutually symbiotic, each fostering and complimenting the other. Happy Thanksgiving to the Rockwells and the entire LF commentariat.
I believe gratefulness to be the antidote to envy, malice, and uncharitableness, and the proper response to having received blessing and grace.
My Dad passed away unexpectedly on Thanksgiving Day five years ago. He was awesome! He taught his four children and grandchildren the value of strong faith, hard work, kindness, humility and to always be grateful and give thanks.
Today I give thanks for sacrificial his life and am grateful to know that he will forever enjoy the best Thanksgiving feast every single day!
Happy Thanksgiving to you Dan! So grateful for your passion and hard work to help others grow personally and in their leadership…God Bless!
Happy Thanksgiving Dan!
I am grateful for your great work.
– Francis Johnson
I think it’s interesting that as a society/body, the US celebrates gratitude with its biggest national holiday. Europe doesn’t celebrate it officially in any way.
Closely related to narcissism is pride. How can a proud person be thankful? He thinks everything he receives is less than he really deserves.
Similarly, only when we recognize our sinfulness can we accept God’s grace.