I recently enjoyed a brief text exchange with an old friend, wherein I proclaimed how grateful I was for her significance in my life. She replied, “There is precious little that’s better than feeling grateful.”
It’s true, right. A grateful heart is a positive heart. Feeling gratitude (instead of, say, resentment or bitterness) lightens the soul. Living IN gratitude every day brings the minutiae of our trials and tribulations into clear perspective. It’s pretty simple math when you think about it – the more we are thankful for (and yes, I am talking about the small stuff), the less we are inclined to play victim, host pity-parties or succumb to negativity.
But then it hit me. It hit me that there IS something infinitely more satisfying (at least for me) than feeling grateful. Expressing gratefulness … now that is the bomb! When you say thank you OUT LOUD, to someone (anyone) in particular, about something specific that impacted you personally, well, it’s like giving them a gold star on their report card! It is no longer just a thought or a feeling or some other ethereal mist floating in the ether. Gratitude expressed becomes a tangible commodity. One you can offer endlessly knowing the recipient will receive endlessly. I mean seriously, has anybody in the history of creation ever said “thank you” too much?
Which makes me wonder why so many of us have difficulty telling our truths. Our personal truths about what exactly it is we are grateful for. Or for whom we are grateful. Or even why we are grateful. Why the hell are we not scattering appreciativeness all over the place?
Yes, we do the expected. We buy cards to say thank you and we send thank you texts and emails and we offer praise for dinners cooked, gifts given and compliments offered. I am talking about the “unexpected” thank you. The one where the server does an extra special job and not only do you tip heartily, you write a little note on the bill. The one where a teacher goes above and beyond for your child so you send her flowers. The one where you read a book that impacts you profoundly so you seek out the author to tender praise and appreciation. The one where you tell everyone in your life how important they are to you even when you think they must already know that. Yeah … that one.
I have been very fortunate in my radio career. Over the years I have received more than one “thank you” from a listener, happy to report that I impact her day positively. That I made him laugh. That the entire family loves the station. One man once stated, “You must get this all the time.”
Never enough, my friend. Never enough.
Because there can never be too much gratitude. There can, however, often be way too much unexpressed gratitude. My suggestion is this: don’t let that happen. If you feel thankful, offer thanks. Offer it again and again and again and again. I can assure you, ain’t nobody out there gonna ask you to stop. We all desire appreciation. Affirmation. Recognition, credit and praise. Sure, go on, be super-duper humble and say, “No, I do not!”
Uh-huh. I do not believe you.
Voltaire said, “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
Might as well appreciate out loud, right?
I am grateful that my friend gratefully acknowledged my gratefulness as a good thing. Actually, I am grateful that she acknowledged gratefulness in general as a good thing. Because it is.
I, however, will henceforth choose to offer up my thanksgiving in a more specific and individual manner. Why? Because I know what it feels like to get that gold star. And I want to offer that acknowledgment to as many people as possible. One at a time.