Be A Reason For Thankfulness

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being thankfulLast November, I wrote about gratitude letters, how I wrote a note of thanks to the people in my life who I am grateful for, listing reasons why they were so special to me. This year, I’ve decided to show my appreciation for my loved ones in a different way. I’ve told them the special things about themselves that I love and appreciate; now it is my turn to do special things for them. What can I do to make the people I am thankful for thankful for me? How can I brighten their lives, or make them easier; what can I do to fill them with gratitude?

It’s easy to make the decision to be my best self with the people around me; it’s much, much harder to actually put that into practice. In order to hold myself accountable for my actions and decisions, and to work towards being someone that the people in my life are grateful for, I wrote a (brief) list of what I could do to contribute positively to the relationships I have.

Thankfulness Among Various People

The relationships I have with my loved ones are all different; what I’m thankful for when it comes to my husband isn’t necessarily the same thing he’s thankful for when it comes to me. So I made it simple. I asked. What do I do that my husband is grateful for? My children? My parents? And now I know exactly how to show how appreciative I am of having them all in my life – by making the conscious choice to behave in a way that will help them appreciate me.

My two year old can’t give me clear and specific things he is thankful for, but I know. Watching him peddle his car up and down the sidewalk for an extra ten minutes, or making having a catch my number one priority – those are definitely items at the top of his list.

It’s harder with my almost five year old, but remembering to keep a calm voice instead of raising it in anger is a good lesson for both of us. I’m not going to ask the strangers I encounter during my day-to-day what would make them appreciative of me (could you imagine those conversations?!) -luckily, basic human kindness and courtesy go a long way in contributing towards respectful and positive interactions with all the people around us. And I find that, when I’m cheerful and polite to others, they often are cheerful and polite right back to me.

And that’s the best part. When we spread happiness, it does just that – spread. When we work at giving the people we love things to be thankful for, they really will be thankful. Relationships will grow. We all become happier, and more grateful. And of course, we should remember to be thankful for ourselves as well – to love ourselves, to take pride in our actions and work, to reflect on all we have to be grateful for.

[Photo Credit: Jennifer]

4 thoughts on “Be A Reason For Thankfulness”

  1. Hi, Don. I really like your thoughts here about making a conscious effort to contribute positively to the relationships you have with those around you. It should be so simple, so natural a thing, but how often do we really stop to think about that? It’s a great way to deepen existing relationships.
    Your comments about basic kindness and courtesy are spot on, too. Just this evening I saw a woman in line behind me lay into the teenage cashier because his shift was over and he was told to close his line after the person two in front of her. She hollered at him about how long she had been waiting and how she didn’t want to start over in a new line, blah blah. This kid handled the situation with maturity and grace – he told her very quietly and calmly that he’d be happy to take her anyway, even though he had to leave. Not good enough, apparently, because she continued and then stomped off to holler in another line. He could have made a snarky comment about her, but he didn’t. He simply kept going about his business and shook his head a bit. I and the gentleman behind me continued to chat pleasantly and it kept the mood light – it could have gone a much different way. As I left, I told him to hang in there and reminded him that his mother would probably be grateful if he didn’t speed home, even though he was now delayed. I’m writing a letter to his manager first thing tomorrow!

    1. That’s a great story Lisa, thanks for sharing! I think we need to be more active in praising people and letting them know when they did a good job. Anymore it seems like we ask for a manager when something is wrong, never when something goes great. We need to get back in the habit of praising people for acting and doing the right thing.

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