A good friend of mine died last week. He had a profound positive influence on me over many years. But I never got the chance to thank him. This got me thinking about how important it is to tell people that you are grateful for what they have done for you.
After ruminating on this for a few days I concluded that it’s better to thank someone for their contribution at the time it happens, rather than waiting for the right moment. This is because this moment, as I found out, may never come.
One reason to “count our blessings aloud” is to do with health – expressing thanks can lead to a less stressed, happier, healthier lifestyle. We know that showing gratitude is easier when someone praises us or gives us a gift. But not everyone finds it so simple to appreciate someone who challenges us. Then there’s the person we most often forget to thank – ourselves.
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward
So let’s think about showing respect to people who have helped or inspired us. Maybe there are family members to thank just for being themselves and being there for us. We can demonstrate our gratitude continually, and not just wait for the big occasions such as birthdays and Christmas. Material gifts may not express our feelings as meaningfully as smaller heartfelt gestures. To show someone you care, go out of your way and do something for someone that’s unexpected and done without the expectation of a reward.
Then there’s the bigger picture. Cultivating an attitude of thankfulness will improve the lives of those around you and make you more positive. Embracing life’s setbacks as well, will help you to feel grateful for what you have and gives you the strength to overcome future challenges.
When it comes down to it, being grateful for what we have, and showing our appreciation for others, is just a better way to live.