One of the first things we are taught as children is how to say “thank you”. Whether we ask for something and it is given to us, or someone does something for us, or we receive a gift, the importance of acknowledging these exchanges is widely accepted across all cultures and walks of life. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, “thank you” has lost its meaning and it has become something that we say automatically, almost as if it were a programmed response. What’s worse is that very often these days, in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, we forget to say thank you at all!
We’ve all experienced the feeling of appreciation we get when we do someone a favor, give a gift or lend a hand and they express their heartfelt gratitude. We also know what it’s like to hold a door for someone, yield to another car on the road or do a kind gesture for a loved one and not hear those magic words, or receive acknowledgement of some kind.
Now, of course, when we do a good deed or a thoughtful gesture, it shouldn’t be with any expectation of receiving anything in return. That said, the difference in how we feel as the giver when gratitude is expressed versus when it is not is worth noting. The truth is that when we give and it is acknowledged, it makes us want to give more and it increases the likelihood that we will give again and again. In other words, gratitude gives rise to more giving which in turn, gives rise to abundance.
This paradigm applies to our relationship with the Uni-verse and all that it provides for us. Life is truly a miracle. Every day that we get to live on this earth is a gift. Regardless of our position in the world, our status or wealth, we all have so much to be grateful for. And yet so many of us are focused on what’s missing from our lives. So often, we are so consumed with our desires and wants that we end up taking so much for granted and we don’t take the time to express our gratitude for what we already have.
I’m not just talking about saying thank you, although that’s s a good start. I’m talking about taking a moment every now and then (or better yet, ever day) to acknowledge all that there is to be thankful for in your life, in your relationships, in YOU! Not just thinking about it but FEELING it. And not just the big things but the little ones too. Here in the Western world, we have so much that people in other parts of the world would give anything to have and we don’t even really realize it. In fact, sometimes the more we have, the easier it is to lose sight of how blessed we truly are. In the same way, it is often those who have less who are better at expressing their gratitude.
There will always be more to get, more to do and more to become but when we forget to FEEL and EXPRESS our gratitude for what we’ve already got, we essentially stop the flow of abundance. In the same way that when we give and don’t hear a “thank you”, it leaves us feeling less inclined to give again; when we don’t internally acknowledge and outwardly express thanks for all that we have, we are not inviting the Uni-verse to keep on providing for us.
So I invite you to take a moment right now and give some thought to what you are thankful for in your life, in this world, about yourself. There is nothing too trivial and there is no limit to how many times we can express our gratitude for the bigger things in life. Leave a comment and let us all share in the joy of expressing our gratitude and counting our blessings together in community.
Written for The Daily Love (Feb. 18th, 2012)