My family and friends live life to its fullest. They are thankful for the abundance that surrounds them and they articulate their thankfulness in countless ways. Often they simply say, “Thank you!” Sometimes they send handwritten notes or e-mails expressing their gratitude. Occasionally I’ve been given a Starbucks gift card in appreciation of a special favor.
Almost everyone I encounter has a special way of saying thanks.
On rare occasions, however, I encounter someone who falls short, someone who fails to express gratitude. I notice, for example, when a retail cashier has not been trained to close a transaction with those two magical words—thank you. I’ve been disappointed when a wedding gift is never acknowledged. A couple of times I’ve even felt unappreciated when I went above and beyond expectations and the other person didn’t even notice.
Like you, I don’t do things to receive recognition or appreciation, but it’s always nice to be acknowledged. In those rare circumstances when I feel unappreciated, I try to rise above the ingratitude of others. After all, it happens to the best of us—even Christ, after healing 10 lepers, had only one return to say, “Thank you.”
I cannot change others so I’m not going to try. The only person I can change is myself, so in this season of thanksgiving I resolve to do the following:
- Cultivate mindfulness. I want to become more aware of things in my life that I’m thankful for yet perhaps I take for granted. Someone once told me, “What you focus on expands.” So I’ll look for the good and avoid obsessing on problems, worries or deficits.
- Express my gratitude. Thanksgiving must be a way of life, not just an annual holiday. I will look for more ways to sincerely express my gratitude to others. I’ll also be more purposeful in giving thanks to God for the abundance that surrounds me.
- Pay it forward. Perhaps the best thing I can do is to pass along my gratitude to others. Thankful for my own employment, I will look for ways to help others in their job searches. Grateful for the many friends in my life, I’ll be a friend to someone who may feel lonely. In gratitude for the material comforts I enjoy, I’ll make financial contributions to charities such as United Way and the American Red Cross so they can help those less fortunate.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and I’m going to keep my spirit of gratitude alive year-round.
One final comment: Thank you! Thanks for reading my blog. And thank you in advance if you’re inclined to leave a comment below.