So exactly how can you express your gratitude? Many people keep a gratitude journal in which they record, daily, the things they are grateful for. Others remember the great moments of the week, month or year and record them on a slip of paper, place them in a jar, and after a period of time (a month or a year), open that jar reflect back on the things that made them feel grateful and happy. Some people simply learn how to say thank you – whether privately, through a journal, in passing thought, or by going that small but meaningful extra step of thanking someone who gave you reason to be grateful. Actually taking the time to genuinely thank someone in your life for something they have done for you has actually been shown to have a powerful effect in increasing one’s own wellbeing.
Over the holidays I realized that anything I am grateful for receiving – a person’s smile, hug, helping hand, or positive comment; an opportunity for creativity, prosperity, or spiritual serenity; a situation that allows me to achieve a goal, see something beautiful, take a peaceful moment, learn something new – are presents in my life. They are beautiful, special gifts that should be treasured and appreciated, and warrant a moment of personal reflection.
Appreciating the people in your life is infinitely more powerful than gloating over material objects. A close relationship with friends, family, or a significant other is truly one of the most rewarding ways you can invest your time and energy into. When you appreciate another person, an act, or words that person has shared, you expand your own gratitude. Your respect, thanks, and acceptance will inspire that person to express their gratitude. You will both benefit. They’ll thrive and so will you.
So, I’m making this commitment: let’s fill 2013 with a sense of thankfulness and harmony. Let’s try to embrace whatever challenges await us with grace, and really try to create a more meaningful connection with other people, lower our defenses and be real. Most of all
I’m going to make an effort to lean into my gratitude, and collectively offer up that gratitude to shape a community around me that contains less judging, and more love.
And what should I be grateful for? Everything. People, places, moments, my son. And when I share and express that gratitude, it returns to me. Which makes me more grateful. Which leads to…
A beautiful cycle to set in motion this New Year.