I’m sorry, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings here, but that seemingly innocuous word ‘gratitude’ makes me cringe.
Often it is used to state that we should be grateful for our general circumstances, implying we have nothing whatsoever to do with them being what they are.
It doesn’t matter that we have a system were we pay taxes aimed at upholding a health care system, or schools, or libraries, or public transport, or housing. We are ‘lucky’ to live under such circumstances and should be ‘grateful’ for being given those things – political decisions or lobbying or public movements had nothing to do with it; it’s all down to luck.
Or when we should be ‘grateful’ for being able to do things that in reality is the result of endless hours of practise.
Sorry, I just can’t stand it. It implies we cannot change our lives; we’re subject to fate, a roll of dice, and whatever effort we put into it doesn’t matter, in the end – someone or something else provided us with ‘fortune’, for which we should be ‘grateful’, possibly based on having (or not) led a pious life.
The very anti-thesis to the concept of free will, without which we could just lie down and die, in my opinion.
So. No thank you. I will not every be grateful, and I will continue to cringe when I hear otherwise intelligent people use the word.