5 Personality Traits All Grateful People Have, Even In Hard Times

To be grateful in this chaotic world is a tremendous gift to yourself and others.

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Today, more than ever, there is a deep need for gratitude. There's also a need for people who possess the kind of personality traits and characteristics that show they know how to be grateful in the world.

What is gratitude?

At the most basic level, the definition of gratitude is "a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation."

The significance of gratitude has been researched and further developed by Robert Emmons, who "Greater Good Magazine" refers to as "perhaps the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude."


In an essay titled, “Why Gratitude Is Good,” Emmons explains that there are two key components of gratitude as a social emotion:

"First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. This doesn’t mean that life is perfect... But when we look at life as a whole, gratitude encourages us to identify some amount of goodness in our life.

The second part of gratitude is figuring out where that goodness comes from. We recognize the sources of this goodness as being outside of ourselves. It didn’t stem from anything we necessarily did ourselves in which we might take pride. We can appreciate positive traits in ourselves, but I think true gratitude involves a humble dependence on others."


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In the current climate of political differences, mass shootings, devastating forest fires and more, the general trauma of living in the modern world has made the need for gratitude even more important.

With everything that seems so terribly wrong, it's important that we know how to be grateful for what we do have, and for the people around us. By being grateful, you can survive anything.


So, what kind of person is naturally gifted when it comes to knowing how to be grateful? Men and women with certain dominant personality traits and characteristics are the people you can count to know what gratitude truly means.

Here are 5 characteristics of a grateful person.

1. Resilience

People who are grateful are, more often than not, people who have struggled with hardship themselves, people who have gone through hell and back and survived.

People who have suffered tend to be truly grateful for all that they do have — truly, right down to their bones, because they have suffered themselves.

I have a client whose husband left her years ago, and her struggle to survive that abandonment was profound. She made it though after a lot of pain and hard work, and now she is involved with a man who is in the last stages of a divorce that has been taking years, because his wife has been fighting it every step of the way.


When this woman's friends ask her if she's angry that his divorce isn’t final yet, she can honestly say that she is not. Rather, she is so very grateful that she has this man in her life, that she can help him move forward in a positive way, that she has the strength she needs to get through this, and that, even though she suffered through her own terrible divorce, she now has this second chance at love.

2. Self-compassion

People who are grateful are usually full of self-compassion. Someone who is easy on themselves is someone who is grateful for all that they have and all they bring to the world.

Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing themselves for their shortcomings, people with self-compassion are more likely to be kind and understanding to themselves when confronted with personal failings. They understand that they are just like other people, working hard to be the best person that they can be in spite of sometimes insurmountable odds.

When a person can be truly aware of their own humanity, they can more easily be grateful for all that they have instead of focusing on what they don’t have.


After my divorce I self-flagellated constantly. I felt that I was completely at fault for the demise of my marriage and was happy to bear that cross daily. As a result, I was angry at my ex-husband for leaving me. I resented his happiness with his new wife, and celebrated when his life took a downturn.

In recent years, I have come to see that there were two people in my marriage, and that we both had blame to share. As I have forgiven myself for my failures in my marriage, I have been better able to be grateful for my ex-husband's actions as well, to see how his unhappiness led to him making the choice that he did, and how, because he did so, we are both in a much better place. And our kids are as well.

I am always grateful when my kids are in a great place. Always.

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3. Mindfulness

People who are grateful are people who are mindful. People who are mindful live in the moment, pay attention to those around them, and are willing to recognize all that is good in the world.

How can someone whose head is down, focused on their phone, even notice what there is that is good in the world? How can someone who is always looking ahead to what is next ever see what is right in front of them, right now? How can we see all the gifts that we have been given if we are obsessed with things that are toxic and life-sucking?

How about you? When was the last time you looked up from your phone and noticed what’s right in front of you? When did you turn away from that thing that only causes you pain and focus on what makes you feel good?

Stop. Pay attention. Be grateful. Spread love.


4. Generosity

People who are grateful tend to be generous, sometimes to a fault.

People who are generous are most often so because they realize all of the gifts they have in this world. They know how lucky they are and want to share their luck and love with others.

Since I have found love again, giving back to the world is even more important to me, especially giving back to women who are struggling with a love that is only causing them pain. I feel so grateful for having love in my life again and I just want that for everyone else.

So, I get up every day and make it my life’s work to help others be happy in love. How lucky am I?

5. Compassion

People who are compassionate know how to be grateful.


People who are compassionate know how they lucky they are to have the life they have. They recognize the gift that is their life, and how lucky they are to have what they have.

Because they are grateful, they can help people who are struggling to see the good in the world, to recognize the gifts that they have and teach them to reach for the happiness they want. They have a clear picture of what contentment looks like and can guide a needy someone towards that light.

People who take their life for granted, who seek additional adulation and riches, who don’t recognize how lucky they are to have what they have, are people who aren’t likely to see the good in the world and will struggle to be grateful; for them, the world is all about needing more. And because of that, they will never be happy.


Every day I wake up in my beautiful house, laugh at my silly dog, and celebrate having found the love of my life. I know that I am supremely lucky and it helps me be the truly compassionate life coach that I am.

So, look around. How lucky are you?

If you look around this world full of conflict and hatred, and you are wondering what you can do, cultivating gratefulness would be a gift to everyone.

Next time you see someone who is struggling, step forward and reach out your hand. Recognize that suffering is the human condition but that in it there is the hope for joy and acceptance. Be grateful for all that you have and share what you have with others.


If you can make the difference in the life of even one person, what a gift that will be!

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Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC-based certified life coach and mental health advocate, who works exclusively with women to help them be all they want to be in this crazy world. Her writing has appeared on Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN, and The Good Man Project, among others.