Gratitude is a weird thing.
I think my favourite thing about gratitude is that it obliterates, forbids self pity.
Try being self piteous and grateful simultaneously. Really, try...if you think to yourself ‘I can be both self piteous and grateful’ then you prolly’ need to ask exactly what gratitude is.
Self pity depends on excuses, on finding ‘reasons’ to try justify negative personality traits, bad attitudes, self damaging behaviours...what Satre termed ‘bad faith’: the denial of one’s own free will. Self pity requires a person to refuse responsibility and begs for anything that will allow the individual to remain in a current and dejected state of being. Thus, self pity prohibits movement; it imprisons a person and prevents development, spiritually, emotionally
...and gratitude does the opposite.
Gratitude is movement. Gratitude both requires and demands a person moves, spiritually, emotionally, even intellectually through processes of evaluation, backwards through the past and through doing so forwards through the present, towards a future.
Gratitude is like one of those friction toy cars kids play with which you pull backwards so that when you let go the car is propelled into forward motion. And I think that is amazing.