Having taken a look at the benefits of gratitude, we now take a look at the opposite side, the harms of Ingratitude.
عن أَسْمَاء أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَرَّ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ يَوْمًا وَعُصْبَةٌ مِنْ النِّسَاءِ قُعُودٌ فَأَلْوَى بِيَدِهِ إِلَيْهِنَّ بِالسَّلَامِ قَالَ إِيَّاكُنَّ وَكُفْرَانَ الْمُنَعَّمِينَ إِيَّاكُنَّ وَكُفْرَانَ الْمُنَعَّمِينَ قَالَتْ إِحْدَاهُنَّ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ يَا نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ مِنْ كُفْرَانِ اللَّهِ قَالَ بَلَى إِنَّ إِحْدَاكُنَّ تَطُولُ أَيْمَتُهَا وَيَطُولُ تَعْنِيسُهَا ثُمَّ يُزَوِّجُهَا اللَّهُ الْبَعْلَ وَيُفِيدُهَا الْوَلَدَ وَقُرَّةَ الْعَيْنِ ثُمَّ تَغْضَبُ الْغَضْبَةَ فَتُقْسِمُ بِاللَّهِ مَا رَأَتْ مِنْهُ سَاعَةَ خَيْرٍ قَطُّ فَذَلِكَ مِنْ كُفْرَانِ نِعَمِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وَذَلِكَ مِنْ كُفْرَانِ الْمُنَعَّمِينَ
Asma’ (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ passed by a group of women in the mosque one day. The Prophet waved with his hand to greet them with peace and he said, “Beware of ingratitude to those who bless you. Beware of ingratitude to those who bless you.” One of the women said, “O Messenger of Allah, I seek refuge in Allah, O Prophet of Allah, from being ungrateful to Allah.” The Prophet said, “Rather, one of you will be widowed for a long time throughout her middle years, then Allah provides her with a husband and he benefits her with a child, the joy of her life. Then, she gets very angry and she swears by Allah, saying: I never had one good moment with you! That is ingratitude to the blessings of Allah. That is ingratitude to those who bless her.” [Musnad Aḥmad 27042]
It’s important to be intentional about showing gratitude every day. if we live our lives without looking for ways to demonstrate gratitude more consistently than at certain occasions, we could ultimately set our family and our kids up for a dangerous future. I know that may sound a little extreme, but think about it. When you don’t practice gratitude . . .
You Develop an Unhealthy Ego
A healthy ego is important. You want your kids to grow up with the confidence to pursue and accomplish goals. You want your children to believe in themselves. But that’s different from raising them to believe they are better than everyone around them. It is dangerous for kids to grow up and believe they really don’t need anyone else. When you develop the habit of expressing GRATITUDE, you build a constant reminder into your life of how others have contributed to your success.
You Invite the Wrong Kind of Friends
The best way to burn through good friendships fast is to never show gratitude. Smart friends are not going to stay in relationships with people who just use or drain them. So you can expect the right kind of friends to avoid ungrateful people. At the same time, those who are ungrateful will tend to attract friends who are the same. So if, “the quality of your friends will determine the direction of your life,” ungrateful people will tend to go down a slippery path.
You Fuel an Attitude of Entitlement
If you want your kid to grow up and believe “the world owes me,” then let his or her ungrateful attitude go unchecked. Gratitude focuses on the idea that I should appreciate the role others play in my success. It implies that when someone does something for me that I recognize the value they add to my life. Entitlement implies that others do what they do for me because they recognize my importance. Without a habit of gratitude you convince yourself that the rest of the world should help you because you deserve it.
You Breed Discontentment
We all tend to drift toward an “it’s never enough” attitude because of our focus on what we want. Discontentment is how our problem started. Discontentment is a dangerous thing. Whenever you show gratitude, you are simply readjusting your focus. Gratitude is simply turning your attention from what you don’t have to what you do have. If you want your children to become content adults, then help them understand why they should be grateful.
You Nurture a Critical Spirit
Did you ever stop to think that practicing a positive virtue actually helps you overcome a negative attitude? If you have a tendency to be jealous, learn to praise and celebrate what others accomplish. If you have a tendency to be indifferent toward others, then do a few random acts of kindness. If you have a problem with being critical or negative, then become intentional about showing gratitude.