Thanksgiving is coming and the newspapers give us – again – columns on gratitude and thankfulness. Okay. I got it. “Gratitude is good for you. Studies show grateful people are happier, healthier and better able to withstand hardship,” so says Kim Painter in USA Today.
Absolutely. All true. Which doesn’t change the fact that we’re all too busy and yes, over-run with almost anything you could list.
So – yes – gratitude. I am, for example, grateful that the marigolds are still blooming in my garden even after a couple nights of freezes. I noticed them when I went out this morning to feed the birds. What a bright yellow spot in a winter garden! I looked around and there’s one spindly coneflower still blooming pink against the back fence and several still-red buds on the rose bushes.
I guess if they can keep going after freezes, I can too.
And I am grateful, as a matter of fact. Family members are coming for Thanksgiving; more family arrives the middle of December for a visit and Christmas; grandson Michael is coming in from duty in San Diego with his pit bull Mittens – now that gave me pause – Mittens the pit bull. I’m sure she’ll be fine although it is her first visit to Grandma’s house. For Christmas or anything else.
My small quiet corner in the world will be filled with sleeping family. I’ll carve out a nest in the kitchen.
But then I got to thinking, maybe instead of “grateful for,” I need to think of how people were grateful to me, for my actions or words. How have I behaved to create a feeling of gratefulness?
I suspect we can all summon up gratefulness when called upon to do so – can we also summon up a list of things that will make others grateful for us?
Here’s one interesting tip from USA Today’s Kim Painter: “Say ‘thank you’ often and be specific.” In other words, tell a waiter why you liked their service; tell a spouse how you liked what they did. Instead of using ‘thank you’ as an automatic response (I have to do this because my mother told me to), “try saying, ‘I get to do this…'”
And sometimes you don’t have to say anything. Allowing someone to pull in front of you when they are in a hurry extends gratitude; taking an extra moment to hold a door open for another extends gratitude. So does being patient when you’re not feeling patient.
Don’t most of us want to be thought of with gratitude?
Ponder that and see where you come to! What it made me realize is that when I slow down enough and step out of the whirl enough to be grateful, others are probably grateful that I have. I see them. I pay attention.
So have a wonderful Thanksgiving week. We can all probably use some practice in being the object of others’ gratitude.