One thing in life that is certain is that we will all have needs that must be met by someone other than ourselves. Our society has taught us the value of independence while diminishing the need we have to depend on each other. It is great to be able to be self sufficient, but as the famous phrase says “No man is an island”, there will be a time when you will need a hug from a friend, the opportunity to start a new job, a homemade bowl of chicken soup when sick. Acknowledging and honoring the service provided at the time of need, the opportunity given to start a new venture, the moments shared that made an experience unforgettable… that is gratitude.

When we are sincerely grateful and take the time to just say thank you many doors open, we receive more enabling us to give to others. The secret for the cycle of gratitude to unfold is that it must be genuine. I encourage you to try it. Maybe you went to a job interview, and you do not know if they will consider you for the position. Keep in mind, they picked you to interview from a list of other candidates. They arranged the meting and took time to know you… the opportunity was given. Acknowledging this fact and being grateful for it will benefit you in many ways. Consider sending the person who interviewed you a thank you card. Chances of you getting that job might increase, or at least they will remember the kind gesture and if another opportunity arises you may be the candidate of choice. Even if the company received many thank you cards from other candidates, regardless of the final outcome, whether you get the job or not…by taking this approach you are building your character. It is a win-win situation..

Many times we are so accustomed to receiving from certain people in our lives that we sadly take them for granted. Parents, grandparent, spouses, educators, pastors; caregivers tend to fall into this category. We assume part of their role consists of serving and we get desensitized to the fact that they are making a decision to be there for us in our time of need. It is not common to send a thank you card to your mother just for being there, a bouquet of flowers to your wife on a random day just to show appreciation, surprising your husband for lunch with his favorite meal, just to show gratitude.

I believe practicing gratitude is very important, and would like to share some tips that helped me. On a journal write down everything you are grateful for: family, health, food, shelter, etc… then write specific events that changed your life or that impacted you for the better. I guarantee you behind those events there was usually a person or a few people that contributed to it. Next, take the time today to acknowledge the act and say thank you to them. Always remember the need we have for being there for each other doesn’t make us vulnerable, it makes us human. Expressing gratitude is a precious gift to the receiver and a reminder of how valuable and appreciated they are.

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