Lent comes each year and I spend those weeks, as so many of us do, fasting from some things that I like coupled with reflecting on my life; contemplating what I can improve both spiritually and physically. After all of that time in a reflective state, my mind looks joyfully towards a time to celebrate with friends and family. Friends and family are never far from my mind as each day I try more and more to let those that I love know what they mean to me. Call it getting older, becoming more aware of my own mortality or just getting old with age and becoming more nice… having a strong sense of gratitude and being capable of showing it is a sign of maturity that I quite like actually.
I wear a leather cuff almost everyday that says simply “Be Grateful.” I came across it in a little boutique and many of my friends have commented that they liked it. I wear it to continuously remind me to be mindful and aware of what it is that I do have and not to dwell on the things that I do not. Sometimes this works and other times when things are just not clicking in the directions I want them to be going I look down at that leather cuff and want to stomp my foot and pull it off! That little voice though in my crazy head stops me and after a few deep breaths and in just a few days or even an hour or so of just being ornery I come back around. We all, you see, should wear an invisible bracelet reminding us to be grateful!
There are several ways that I have found to express gratitude, some are easier to do than others of course, but we all should implement them into our lives so that we are enriched and reminded form time to time of what we all do have. Lives well lived are with rich relationships and not “stuff!” Firstly, each week I make it a point to write a thank you note. It might be for a lovely towel that is brought in a hostess welcome or for an unexpected gift from an old dear friend. It might be for a loving spouse that decided to make tea and breakfast and let a certain someone you know sleep in a few extra hours! Either way I write them and truthfully I write them as much for me as I do for the recipients!
I feel another way to show someone gratitude for them being in your life is to give meaningful gifts.. you know stuff that you know suits that person, not a generic whatever that you randomly picked up! When the holidays came last year we were visiting family after having not been at Christmas in over 19 years! The family members wanted to draw names and then proceeded to tell all of us to buy each other gift cards, which was a fairly stupid idea if you had asked me. I ended up not only buying them a gift card, because they is what they asked for, but I had made for each of them a monogramed leather clutch. That way each of them had something personalized and lasting from just us. That is truly being thoughtful, and shows that you are mindful of their likes and have taken the time, which by the way is also very valuable, to go out of your way to make sure a gift selected for them is actually for just them!
Another way that I show my clients, who are my friends, that I appreciate them is through hugging them. Touch is the first sense we acquire and it is an important act that builds relationships. Listening to a friend without casting opinion, being the first to say your are sorry, and offering to help with a project or a new move or with shopping…all of these are small ways we can show gratitude towards others.
Whether you are randomly smiling at a stranger, writing a letter of thanks or hugging an old friend; all of these acts are a display of being grateful. Gratitude is something that is taught and learned and as we age; it is more valued in our relationships. It is a symbol for me of graciousness that I am proud to be well versed in. The best part about having gratitude is that it is two-fold. The more we show others how much we care and appreciate them; the more thankful we become of our own lives and the less we long for more “stuff!”
Take Care of YOU!