OnionThere’s a lot more to gratitude than many people see.  Gratitude is like an onion. Onions have layers. Gratitude has layers. Get it?

The polite outer layer of my gratitude peels easily because everyone close to me deserves a thank you. Thanking close connections works as long as it doesn’t feel like thanking the voice activated search engine in my phone – shallow and automatic.

My appreciation layer emerges often for those who give generously, take on challenges to support strangers, and anyone who goes beyond the call of duty as the intentions of their efforts often exceed my expectations.

Digging into deeper layers I realize that expressing gratitude on a daily basis can be challenging for two reasons. First, my tendency for humor and sarcasm can quickly spoil the good meaning or makes me question the intention of someone’s actions, like questioning the authenticity of their complements or their honest offer to help. Secondly, it is hard not to dismiss others if I see their actions as something they are supposed to do – their job; similarly to how my kids expect me to be their chauffeur so I rarely get a thank you for driving them around town. So, paying close attention to the meaning increases my appreciation for someone’s actions. Low expectations for these actions can increase my gratitude but that can be hard to do!

The next layer holds sweet memories of family and friends along with teachers, mentors, coaches and everyone who taught me to be thoughtful and to be grateful. These good habits have made my life easier so this layer also holds my eternal debt of gratitude for their kindness.

If I sound preachy every now and then is because my faith and belief help the core of my gratitude. Trying to not take people for granted, meditating for spiritual growth, praying for soul correction, and gratefulness are things that make me to look into my values, purpose, and ego to help me find beauty of in  every moment,  trust in others, and joy when I express my gratitude.

Gratitude has layers. Any casual or polite thanks, a big or small gesture of appreciation, expressing gratitude as a moral debt or from my heart inspired by deep beliefs, these are petals of my gratitude onion – an essential, transparent, and a powerful spice of my life.