TED Conversations

Arkady Grudzinsky


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Should we feel gratitude for our life? To whom?

Gratitude is important feeling in interpersonal relationships. Gratitude encourages giving and giving encourages more gratitude, etc. On the other side, lack of gratitude comes with a sense of "entitlement" - they mutually create each other as well. Lack of gratitude discourages giving and creates a sense that the world "owes us" a living. "We are programmed to receive." Gratitude, in my opinion, offers an exit from that proverbial Hotel California and "programs us to give".

How about our life and other things shown in this video? Religious people usually thank God for these things. The camera shows a standing round of applause at the end of the video. I very much doubt that most people attending TED talks are religious, so the video must have stirred some emotion in believers and non-believers alike.

Do non-believers feel gratitude for these things? If yes, to whom?


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    Nov 24 2012: Dear Arkady,
    I LOVE the topic of gratitude. You ask..."Should we feel gratitude...?" I ask...Why would we NOT feel gratitude? I am grateful for all that is...in every single moment:>)

    The meaning of gratitude is very simply..."The state of being grateful", and that is exactly what it is for me....a state of "being". It can certainly be shared with others, and as you insightfully say...can be an "important feeling in interpersonal relationships".

    I am grateful every single moment... I have a home...a shelter to live in...clean running water...electricity...food....clothing...etc....these are things that many people in our world do not have....why would we not "feel" grateful?

    Even though I've seen the sun rise and set for 60+ years, I am grateful for the beauty every day...I am grateful for the flowers, fruits and vegetables in the garden, that provide me with food...the wood that many people give me to keep the house warm in the winter....every single time I stoke the wood stove, I "feel" gratitude.

    I am grateful for friends and family. Yesterday, a buddy and I went skiing for the first time this season...it was a beautiful day, and we both kept remarking....this is so GREAT....so BEAUTIFUL....PERFECT! We've skied and biked hundreds of times together, always sharing conversation, friendship, enjoying the fresh air, sunshine, exercise, and gratitude:>)

    I'm told that even when unconscious, in ICU, kept alive with life support systems after a near fatal head/brain injury and emergency craniotomy, I was smiling and giving my visitors thumbs up! I guess I was grateful to be alive even while unconscious, in a VERY compromised physical condition!

    Gratitude is a "feeling", that we can have in each and every moment, and I believe it is another stepping stone to moving forward with learning and growth.

    Enjoy...and be grateful....or not....it is a choice:>)

    • Nov 26 2012: i love your warm words,you make my blood boiled,and make me feel that life is so good.To tell you the truth,i am at the bottom of my life at this single monment;i cried,complaint a lot and thought life was unfair to me...now i should be grateful,thanks to God to give me legs,so i can go where i want to ,thanks to God to give me arms ,so i can take everything i want to,thanks to God to give me eyes, so i can see all the beautiful things in the world.......i feel i have so much.......gratitude to everything i have...
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        Nov 26 2012: Thank you Xiaoyu!

        Life certainly has challenges, and I'm sorry that you are feeling like you are "at the bottom" right now. Crying is not a bad thing....actually, healing endorphins are released in the brain with crying AND laughing...take your pick! They are BOTH good for us.

        Complaining does not do much, except use up energy that we can use differently. Life simply IS what it is. One thing I have done when feeling a little sorry for myself (when I had cancer and a near fatal head injury at the same time), was read quite a few books about people who had UNBELIEVABLE challenges in their lives. It helped me feel like if THEY could survive and live good lives, then I could do it too!

        In my life experience, no matter what the circumstances are, I can always notice something to be grateful for. Keep looking around you Xiaoyu, and you may notice more to be grateful for as well? We are all connected...we all share the same feelings and emotions...we are more the same than different...my loving energy is with you my friend:>)

        "Out of its abysses, unpredictable life emerges, with a never-ending procession of miracles, crises, healing, and growth. When I realize this once again, I see the absurdity of my belief that I can uinderstand, predict and control life. All I can really do is go along for the ride with as much consciousness and love as I can muster in the moment".
        (Molly Young Brown)
        • Nov 28 2012: Thank you,my friend,you are so kind and so nice,it is very lucky to know you...

          I'm so sorry to hear that you have a very difficult time,i wish all best things to you,from your words,there is one thing for sure,you have a very strong heart and strong mind, you've set a good example for me,i will try my best to deal with my current problems,thank you again!!!
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        Nov 29 2012: Thank you again my friend Xiaoyu! I feel grateful to know you too, and I am grateful that we have this opportunity to connect. This topic question asks who should we be grateful to? In this case, I will say I am very grateful to TED for providing the opportunity for us to connect around our world.

        I do not feel that I have a "difficult time" Xiaoyu. As I wrote on this thread in another comment...."It's not a problem....it's a feature" (Meaning...it is an opportunity to learn, grow and evolve). Life offers challenges, and we have the opportunity to decide how we will face the challenges. It is by facing the challenges with love, that we build our strong heart and mind. There is usually light at the end of the tunnel Xiaoyu....try to focus on moving through the challenge, and the more we do that, the more strength and confidence we build in ourselves.

        I appreciate you, I am grateful for our connection, and my thoughts are with you as you face the challenge my friend:>)

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