When I first was asked to write a blog post about World Gratitude Day, I have to admit that I initially was a bit stumped. While I have plenty to be grateful for, I was searching for some big and profound story to tell that would be worthy of representing an international day of awareness. I started by asking myself the obvious question – what am I grateful for? The standard answers came to mind: my health and the ability to participate in activities that I love, my family and friends and their incredible and unwavering support, and my job and the challenges and flexibility it provides. While all of these things are integral to the rich life that I am thankful to have, I started thinking about things on a more granular level.
I consider myself to be a fairly happy-go-lucky person. I am usually smiling, I laugh more often in a day than I can count, and I get to do things that I love every day. However, I quickly realized that all of that positivity is a direct result of the people that I interact with on a daily basis (although there are times when I sit and laugh completely by myself, at myself). This got me thinking about gratitude in a whole different way – a much more simple way – and when I did this, my eyes were opened to a laundry list of the little touch-points and gestures that I had never really thought of before.
For me, it’s things like the friendly staff at my morning coffee stop who always have my drink ready for me upon arrival, it’s the pictures I get from my sister of my nephews re-enacting scenes from Star Wars, it’s the fact that my boyfriend always takes the night shift with the dog so I don’t have to leave my half-asleep state, or the goofy jokes told at my CrossFit box that make me cry tears of laughter instead of tears of pain. These are the little things that take my day from good to great.
As I went through this exercise, something else came to mind. I don’t think I’ve ever stopped to really share just how much I appreciate the little things that the people in my life do. Sure, I say ‘thank you’ when I get my coffee, but that’s usually where it stops.
So, given that it is World Gratitude Day, I thought I’d see what I could do to change that. I’m going to challenge myself to verbalize my gratitude more often and go beyond the simple ‘thank you’ to express how appreciative I am of the positive actions and interactions that I experience each day. In doing so, I hope to be able to return the favour to the people who put a smile on my face and hopefully brighten up their day a little in the process.
I extend the same challenge to you. Think about what you’re grateful for, no matter how big or small it may be, and then think about the people that play an active role in whatever it is you’ve added to your list. Use this day as an opportunity to let those individuals know the impact they’re having. Perhaps it’s a hug, or a verbal ‘thank you’, or a hand-written card. Whatever form it takes, I assure you that it will be well worth your time and will no doubt brighten their day and perhaps give them a little something extra to be grateful for as well.