Our social lives can really be the key to our general happiness. Sure, it’s true you need money, a career, goals, all of those things too, but without social interaction, all of that good stuff begins to fall apart. Experiencing positive relations with other people around you is the key to long-term happiness, solid mental health and emotional maturity.

If social interaction is the key to happiness, what’s the key to social interaction? Well, there’s probably not one single answer to that question, but one of the biggest and best answers is always going to be gratitude and thankfulness.

Yeah, that’s right, saying thank you. You know, that thing your mum forced you to do as a kid to relatives and shop clerks, sternly looking at you till you squeezed out a begrudging ‘thanks’. That’s what can turn your social life around.

Okay, maybe not that exactly, but that idea. True gratitude is a real force to be reckoned with. It can change the ways in which you interact with the world, making you see the things for what they truly are, and subtracting your troublesome, isolating ego. Gratitude can let you embrace life around you for what it really is, without any disappointment, expectation or ego.

As a result, gratitude, when done right, can give you some really powerful social superpowers.

We all love the idea of having superpowers, you know, the ability to fly or turn invisible, but in the real world, the true superpowers are being able to build a powerful social life, full of people who love, support and respect you.

That’s a skill that’s dying, courtesy of isolation, social media, and a thousand other modern factors. Let’s help resuscitate it slightly with some gratitude.

What is Gratitude?

First off and most importantly, what is gratitude? Seems like a really simple question, right? Wrong! Gratitude is a vastly bigger, more reaching philosophy than just saying thank you. Many of us were raised with an inadequate definition of gratitude, believing that simply feeling happy when we receive something, and throwing out a cursory ‘cheers’ is enough.

It’s not. I’m not saying hug every shop clerk who serves you. I’m saying really mean the word. Don’t say it if you don’t mean it, start properly feeling what it is to be grateful for something. Without that awareness and gratitude, you’re going to run into real problems.

Gratitude is getting up in the morning and feeling happy for another day and another chance to change and improve your life. Gratitude is being aware of the people around you, and what they do for you. Gratitude is knowing that you have no right to expect all the great things that have happened to you in your life, but you’ve received them nonetheless.

That’s a powerful feeling, once you learn how to properly embrace it.

Why is it So Powerful?

The trouble with modern society in a lot of ways is expectation. It’s altogether too common to meet people who expect things from life. We’re spoilt by modern society, all of us individually brainwashed by social media to believe we’re the stars of our own reality TV show, or deserving of fame.

We’re not, we’ve already lucked out enough simply being born into a developed nation in the age of technology and information. Everything else is extra.

Embracing that concept allows for a happy-go-lucky attitude of positivity and hard work that runs against the norm. It’s all about accepting your situation, and more, being pleased and happy about it. There’s always ways for things to be worse, and that’s something you need to understand and utilise.

Lack of gratitude could easily be pointed to when it comes to things like mental health issues. Expectation, ego, disappointment, isolation and loneliness. All symptoms of a life without gratitude, and all potential triggers for mental health problems.

Gratitude isn’t spiritual, and it’s not religious. It’s just a way to be happy and mentally strong, and to connect better with people around you. All this talk of superpowers might sound more than a little like I’m trying to recruit you into a cult, but gratitude never has to cost you anything. All it takes is the building of a new habit, and an open mind.

With all that said, here are the eight biggest and best social superpowers you can expect from truly embracing gratitude in your life.

1. Empathy and Understanding

Empathy is a huge thing. Being able to honestly and completely put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and understand their motivations and feelings is one of the most important elements of social interaction.

Gratitude can boost your empathic response to people around you through helping to take you out of your own head and stopping overthinking, and making you more aware of what they’re going through.

2. Confidence and Assertiveness

You might be surprised, but gratitude can actually boost confidence a lot. It’s all about taking away the expectations we have of ourselves, and subtracting the negative impacts of ego.
If you can remove your overthinking, overly controlling attitude to how you want to be perceived by others, you’ll become much more natural, and through that, more confident.

At the end of the day, all confidence really is, is feeling comfortable and at ease. That’s exactly what gratitude can do for you.

3. Emotional Maturity and Psychological Health

Gratitude has long been a big part of mental health treatments, and it’s a sign of someone being older and wiser when you see true gratitude as a personality trait. These things aren’t coincidences. If you can properly learn to feel and engage with gratitude, you’ll become stronger and more balanced mentally, as well as more emotionally mature.

We’re not saying gratitude is a cure-all, but it can have a powerful effect on your mental well-being, enough to be called a superpower.

4. New Friends

According to a recent study, people who are less entitled and more grateful actually find it substantially easier to make new friends. Making friends really is the crux of any social life, we’ve all felt jealous when we’ve spent time with people who can make friends in a flash. It’s a really appealing trait. Gratitude can help you build it into your life.

continue to part 2