“Expressing gratitude is one of the simplest yet
most powerful things humans can do for each other.”
Have you started your list? I began to work on mine last week. Every year I say the same thing, “I’m not going to wait until the last moment!” Lo and behold the last moment is almost here. There is really no excuse; I’m retired, there are no health issues to speak of, and I have an abundance of time. Truth is, it’s simply a case of procrastination, but that ends today! As soon as I finish this newsletter, I’ll finalize the list and as the saying goes, “check it twice so I can send out a note to those who’ve been nice!” What? You thought I was talking about a Christmas list? Hell no, I’ve got over a month to get ready for that. I’m talking about my Gratitude List; not the things for which I am thankful, but rather the people I need to thank for simply bringing happiness into my life.
As I look back over this past year, there are an abundance of things for which I am thankful, and for which I should express gratitude. Equally important though is the recognition that many, if not all of the things for which I am grateful, are associated with the people in my life. In essence, it is the relationships in my life for which I am truly thankful.
For the importance they hold, few of us give conscious thought to the significance of the relationships in our life. For the most part it stays tucked away in the back of our mind emerging on holidays, like Thanksgiving, or in times of need or celebration. It’s ironic, because without relationships life is empty; some might say that it doesn’t even exist! Gary Chapman, author of, The Five Love Languages, writes, “Something in our nature cries out to be loved by another. Isolation is devastating to the human psyche. That is why solitary confinement is considered the cruelest of punishments.”
So why does this happen? If relationships are so important, why don’t we pay more attention to them? Simply put, “out of sight, out of mind.” It becomes all too easy to take our relationships for granted, and that is unfortunate. The good news is there is a simple solution that is summed up in one word, “APPRECIATION”. Think about it, that which we appreciate, that on which we focus, gains value. That which we ignore or take for granted, loses value over time; it depreciates. When we express appreciation for a relationship, we are openly declaring it is something we value.
Over the course of the next week and beyond Thanksgiving, I’m going to use e-mail, text messaging and some old fashioned handwritten notes to express my appreciation to those who, not just this year but for many years, have made my life better. You see, it is not the things in my life for which I am grateful this Thanksgiving, it is the people in my life for which I am thankful everyday!
Embrace the Challenge.