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Let's talk about feelings: Love and gratitude | Designsnails
Life StyleLove

Let’s talk about feelings: Love and gratitude

To be able to say ‘I love you’ you first have to learn to say ‘thank you’, and this simple act is not as easy as it seems. Love and gratitude should be expressed in a simpler way.

Be grateful

Laura remembered a phrase that her grandfather often said to her: ‘It is good to be grateful’. At this time it had a special significance, because now that she felt good about herself, she could thank what some people had done for her. I remembered that phrase because I felt that I had been reborn after a psychoanalysis I had come to out of a depression in which I was sinking.

She had reached the broken treatment, as if her interior were composed of the scrambled pieces of a puzzle, and had managed to build it, join ideas and feelings, make a coherent image of herself. There he learned not to feel guilty for pursuing what he wanted, to stop loving who hurt him and to estimate who was doing well, to perform with other creative and non-destructive exchanges. He learned to fight, not to ask for more than they could give him and to accept his own and others’ weaknesses.

It broke with fantasies and family myths that had placed her in a demanding and uncomfortable place. He understood his childhood and found out why he had always been trying to make merits to be accepted.

Get to know us inside

Now she had no need to like anyone, she was true to herself. He learned to love because he began to love himself. By recounting his life on the couch, he had discovered that within it there was another life that was as his own as it was unknown. That discovery had made her stronger and freer. She had learned the healing power of truth, because before it was made up of lies because she responded more to the wishes of others than to her own. To some extent, he had been reborn and this time he had done well: that’s why he had the ability to thank what he had received in the treatment.

Thanks, like love, needs a psychological maturation that has led us to know our limitations and love for them, as well as to know what we need from others and what they can give us. Now, asking and accepting what the other offers us is also recognizing what we lack.

The capacity to love and to feel gratitude is developed in the first years of our life. ‘Every happy person has a debt of gratitude to his mother,’ says British pediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, and he has it because that mother has done such an important and generous job for her mental health: she has taught her to love and affirm herself in his identity, allowing him to separate from it and learning to exchange with the other useful experiences to understand his world.

The ability to love

According to psychoanalyst Melanie Klein, the feeling of gratitude is one of the most important derivatives of the ability to love, it is essential in structuring the relationship with the other and occurs when you can appreciate the goodness. Its root is found in the emotions and attitudes that occur in the earliest times of childhood, when the mother is the only object that exists.

This link is the basis for all subsequent relationships with the loved one. There are professionals who can be grateful for because they have provided us with well-being: doctors, psychologists, lawyers, people we trust and whose hands we put on if they gain our trust. The relationship with them sometimes evokes the child dependency situation we had with our parents. Thanks to all of them is born from the human exchange that occurs when they give us what they have and we give them what we don’t have.

In love, the other tends to be possessed and is therefore ambivalent at times. In gratitude there is no tension in love because you always recognize what the other has given you. That debt cannot be paid with anything material but with gratitude, a feeling that enriches both those who feel it and those who receive it. Who has not felt gratitude is difficult for me to love.

The keys

It is convenient to be grateful to the people we love, because that will make both feelings last.


When we are able to thank you for the gift of life, we can love you as you are, because we are likely to have stopped waiting for you to be as we would like.


If we were able to thank what he can help us with and not ask for what he cannot give us, love would last much longer. This is especially complicated.


With them we reissue part of our emotional history and it is almost inevitable that conflicts will appear. If we could thank them for what they give us, we would feel more comfortable in our work as parents.

FRIENDS Friendly

Relationships are as delicate as they are deep. The good friend is the one who accompanies you, affirms you in your identity, makes you feel good and respects you. Friends, in addition to loving them, are thanked for the fact that they exist.

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