How Thank You Changes Everything

Around this time of year, we hear the words gratitude and thankfulness often. If you search the web as I did, on gratitude, you’ll find tons of articles telling you how being thankful can improve your overall quality of life. If the benefits of thankfulness are abundant, why is it that "thank you’s" and "I appreciate you’s" are so few, far, and in between?

I remember my retail and barista days around the holidays and the extreme shortage of thank you’s from customers. Gratitude apparently isn’t something we are innately prone to do. We are constantly reminded to be thankful because gratitude enhances our lives, but often the concept of gratitude just sits in our brains. Sometimes we need to move beyond an attitude of gratitude to what Brene Brown calls, the “practice” of gratitude.

In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brown says that when she thinks about all the research she has compiled on gratitude, the word that stands out to her is practice. Webster defines gratitude as the act of being grateful; being appreciative of benefits received. Gratitude is an act. Gratitude is practice.

When it clicked for me that gratitude needed to be deliberate and intentional, it changed everything for me. Gratitude moved from being a thought in my head, to something actionable I could implement to get gratitude into my heart.

“It seems like gratitude without practice may be a little like faith without works—it’s not alive.

-Brene Brown

Her main point to readers was to stop thinking, “I know I should be more grateful, but…” Or “I know I should say thank you, but I’m in a bad mood and...” to take a few moments each day to say “thank you.”

Thank you, changes everything. It not only changes you, but it changes the person on the receiving end.

Let’s say you are thankful for a family member who is always there for you but you never actually told them in years what they mean to you. They need to hear your thank you. Sometimes we just think that people know how we feel about them or we assume that they know our measure of gratitude, but like Jim Rohn said, what we don't speak they cannot know.

I have challenged myself for the rest of this year to make gratitude a practice in the hopes that by making it a practice it will become a habit. I have noticed my shortcomings in practicing gratitude. I get lost in the hustle and bustle and forget to stop and be thankful. I think about gratitude more than I say it or do it. So first, going to keep a gratitude journal and write down specific moments of gratitude. And secondly, I’m going to let others know how grateful I am for them.

How about you? How has gratitude changed you?

Here’s my challenge to you. Take out a piece of paper, find a pen and begin to reflect over the past ten months. What are you grateful for? Who are you grateful for? And whoever you’re grateful for, send them a text, pick up the phone, or take them out to lunch and let them know.

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