There are three points to focus on when talking about gratitude and they are three simple (or so you think) questions: What or who should we show gratitude towards? Why should we show gratitude? How can we show gratitude?
Why should we show gratitude? Showing gratitude is such an important part of people’s daily lives. There are so many reasons to show gratitude. My favorite reason to show gratitude is because it makes other people feel good. By thanking someone for something they have done, whether it was an intentional or unintentional action, they know that you appreciate what you have done. Personally, I love when I volunteer with different organizations. The people that you help may be in a difficult part of their life, but by being out there and making a difference, you know you are helping them in one way or another. It may be uncomfortable for them to thank you, maybe they are not sure if they want to accept this help, but trust me, you being out there means something to them. Sometimes it may be hard to show gratitude, maybe your parents say you can’t go out one Friday night because you have to study, but it turned out to be a bad idea anyways and all your friends got in trouble. You could thank your parents for being parents, even though they seem to be your worst enemy at times. Showing gratitude may be hard, but trust me, the person that did the action, whether they meant to or not, will appreciate you noticing them.
How can we show gratitude? Well you can start off by saying “thank you.” Saying “thank you” is the easiest way to show that you are thankful for what someone or something has done for you. There are a multitude of other things that you can do to show gratitude. For example you can give someone a hug, send a thank-you note, do a small favor for someone, or give a little gift. As you can see there are so many little things that you can do to show gratitude for someone. John F. Kennedy once said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” The quote really speaks the truth about gratitude to me. It doesn’t matter how much you say you are thankful (even though it’s a nice thing to say) unless you show this appreciation. Of course, this doesn’t mean to never say “thank you,” you should. But you shouldn’t say “thank you” just to say it, if you are saying it you should truly be thankful and appreciative.
As you begin to think about gratitude, I challenge you to ask yourself these three questions and to come up with your own personal answers: What or who should we show gratitude towards? Why should we show gratitude? How can we show gratitude? After answering these questions you will have a better understanding of your personal view on gratitude and who knows, you may even be encouraged to go out and give a hug! Above all, remember how it feels when you are not thanked for something you had taken time to do- remember this and make sure no one in your life feels the same way.
"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18