Expressing Gratitude | Meredith Sweetpea


Growing up, I don’t remember being forced to write thank you notes, but I did anyway. Now, as an adult, Miss Meredith Sweetpea finds that it is more important than ever to graciously express gratitude.

Showing that you are grateful for something you’ve received, or a kindness or gift someone has bestowed upon you, can often be a several-step process.

Say Thank You

First, say “thank you” immediately upon receiving a gift. I have unfortunately witnessed people who, upon receiving a gift, state, “Thanks, but I don’t need this or want this. You’ll have to take it back.” Instead, they should have graciously accepted the gift for the gesture for which it was intended–to honor the recipient, perhaps for a birthday, holiday or special occasion. Simply said, a heartfelt “thank you” will honor the giver who took their time and effort to arrange a special treat just for you. You can always do with the gift what you want later on (donate it or regift it if you don’t want it, or use it or display it proudly.)

Send a Handwritten Note

A handwritten note does NOT mean an email or text–yes, even in today’s electronic times. It means writing words of gratitude on a piece of paper or card and putting it into an envelope that is mailed to the giver’s address, preferably their home address. I recently heard from someone who received a handwritten thank you note who said, “I was so surprised to receive a real letter in the mail. I so rarely get anything that’s not a bill or a solicitation anymore. It was so exciting!” This little gesture can mean so much to the person who took the time to arrange for your gift or service, and is a reminder they will often keep, display, and read again and again.

Tell Others

Spread even more love by telling the recipient later on how much you’re enjoying the gift and how you are using it. Also, glowingly tell others about the gift you received. Even if the gift-giver never hears you telling others, the pleasure you feel from recounting how you received this gift will bring you renewed joy each time you tell it.

Keep a Gratitude Journal

Television personality and media mogul Oprah Winfrey swears that her gratitude journal has changed her outlook on life. Writing in it each evening, she recaps the things that happened during her day for which she is grateful. Singer/songwriter Willie Nelson said, “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”

Keep your own gratitude journal and list at least 3 things each evening. At first, you may find it a struggle to find things to write. It is OK to put down things like, “I’m grateful because I felt energized today,” or “I’m grateful to receive a paycheck today.”

As time passes, you will start to notice more and more little things, and you will actually begin to change your mindset from feeling overwhelmed by life’s daily challenges to recognizing life’s little joys. Your entries might change to, “I’m grateful for the bird song I heard when I awoke this morning,” or “I’m grateful that the clerk at the grocery store complimented me on my new necklace.” Be open to whatever highlight enters your consciousness, from world events to the tiniest little spark in your daily life. Make these points the grace notes to the symphony of your day.

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