Like many kids of my generation, I was raised to say thank you when helped in some way or when given something. I remember having to sit at the table with my pencil and a thank you card, searching my brain for a way to thank someone one I didn’t know for something I didn’t want in the first place.
Over the years I’ve maintained a fair level of common courtesy, but slipped out of the habit of showing people appreciation and gratitude for their help or their gifts (whether material or not). Of course they knew how much I appreciated what they’ve done, without me saying so; why wouldn’t they? So no need to send them a thank you, right?
In the last couple years I’ve come to really appreciate all the gifts and blessings in my life, and I’ve been trying to make a point of being consciously grateful for all those blessings and of thanking all those who help make them possible. A lovely dinner with friends? That deserves thanks. Someone loaned me equipment for a workshop? Definitely helpful. The store clerk was friendly and accommodating? Thank you! Someone cut in front of me in the road? Thanks for helping me remember to pay attention and to be considerate of others.
I have a stack of postcards that I often use to write thank yous to people in my co-housing community for all the ways that they help make my life better and happier and less stressful. For the recent MOGO Workshop I helped organize here in Portland, I had a lot of help. I sent a thank you (via email) to everyone who baked something, loaned something, offered something, did something. It made my heart feel happy and content to know that I was not just feeling my appreciation and gratitude, or verbally sharing it, but showing it in written form (even if it was only via email).
I read in an article once about how much we take for granted; how we wake up in the morning and pretty much expect that everything is going to work like it’s supposed to: We wake up in the morning and the sun is up; the toilet works; the shower brings hot water and turns off when we want it to; the lights, heat, doors, windows, keys, refrigerator, shoes, and so on work. Most of us have sufficient clothes and food; our mode of transportation gets us where we’re going; our computers operate properly, et cetera. It’s only when something doesn’t work as we expect that we usually take notice. And then there are all the many many things that people do for us each day that we don’t even observe: those responsible for our food, clothing, transportation, safety, recreation, health, and on and on.
I’ve noticed that in my increased awareness of all the people and things I have to thank, that I’m more grateful in general, and more likely to be friendly and more connective with others, even strangers.
So, choose a day or two and notice all the things that work, all the people (both seen and unseen) who help, all the little things that make your life a little better. Then thank them. Thank everyone. See how it makes you — and them — feel.
Filed under: MOGO Mini-Tips, MOGO Tips, positive choices | Tagged: appreciation, gratitude, MOGO Habits, positive choices, thankfulness, values | Leave a comment »