Thankful Verses Thank You: A Guide to Gratitude
Most of us just say, “Thank you” here, there and everywhere. It’s what we say when someone holds the door open or we receive a gift of socks on our birthday. It’s easy to see that saying thank you, means nothing without true emotion to beef it up. The point is, life could be better for you if you just allowed yourself to feel truly thankful more often. If not you, then who? If not now, when?
Obviously, there’s a big difference between just saying the words, “thank you” and the state of being thankful. In many situations, saying thank you, has become obligatory and meaningless. We slap thank you at the end of an email (and don’t really mean it) or mumble it under our breath as the barista hands us our coffee. What else can we say?
How about, “A response to my email would irrevocably change my life for the better and I’d be so grateful to correspond with you!” That won’t work. Few if any, will validate that valediction with a response.
Maybe say this next time you receive your coffee, “Bless you oh god of the cafe for this delicious, customized beverage! I will surely survive another day in this cruel world because of your caffeinated artistry!” A mouthful that will probably garner a smile and undoubtedly make them remember your name at your local coffee shop. Try it out and let me know how it goes.
Saying thank you is easy, but feeling thankful takes practice. With all of the demands on our time, finding time to feel gratitude and truly thankful can be as difficult as finding the time to get into shape. Make no mistake, the ability to be thankful, appreciative and gracious can actually be strengthened just like our physical muscles. In order to get the benefit, be prepared to put in some practice time.
Engaging in a thankfulness (gratitude) practice plays both the short and the long game. In the short term, you engender goodwill by emitting genuine good feelings. In the long run, gratitude creates a state of mind that can help you through the toughest of times. Bottom line, we don’t give thanks often enough. Once a year at Thanksgiving, just won’t cut it.
Here’s a simple method to feel more thankful each day: Every time you are about to give out a weak, obligatory aka a crappy thank you, see if you can make it into a conscious, amazing, awesome thank you. Let the words thank you be a cue to remind you how lucky you are at this moment. Consider your health, your friends, family or home. Appreciate the air you breathe or the weather outside. Become grateful for what’s good in your life as well as what’s not and express that through the way in which you give appreciation to others. A bad day can almost always be averted by focusing your attention on brightening someone else’s day.