As I grow more appreciative I find myself actually relishing challenging circumstances. My greatest happiness occurs in those precious times when I cannot find any obvious external reason to justify being grateful; such as in the face of loss, trauma, insult, or especially my own selfishness, laziness, cowardice and stupidity. Many times the best I can muster is the feeblest prayer for gratitude. Praying for gratitude is actually the first emergence into my consciousness of gratitude.
Abe Lincoln said “Most folks are about as happy (grateful) as they make up their minds to be.” We are free to choose how grateful we will be. If we could only feel grateful when the circumstances dictated; if our most cherished experience lay beyond our power, this would be slavery, not freedom. Happiness dependent upon circumstances is misery. But God designed me such that the one thing that I love and need above all else, gratitude/appreciation/love, is fully under my own control.
My body, possessions and reputation are all subject to circumstances. My spirit is not. Appreciation is an assertion of my innate freedom, evidence of my immortality. I am happy precisely and solely because I choose to be so. Joy does not get any more real.