I have always believed that giving thanks is important because it reminds us that we have so much going for us in our lives. When we take a moment to give thanks, we can see that things are not as bad as it might seem otherwise.
Giving and showing thanks can do even more for us, President Thomas S. Monson (President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) said this, "My brothers and sisters, do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love." I love that, giving thanks helps us feel love and when we feel love, it is easier to share love, to others and to ourselves.
In my life, I have a hard time believing that I deserve the wonderful things that I have been blessed with so I find myself constantly expressing my gratitude in quiet prayer. Despite my deep feelings of gratitude, I am not great at showing my gratitude outwardly. So I wanted to share some examples I have seen of people who know how to thank outwardly.
One of the most gracious people I have met is Jeanette Lynton who is the owner and CEO of Close to my Heart. I have been an independent consultant for this company for over 15 years and I have been to many company events and listened to Jeanette talk on many occasions. When she speaks, the first comment she shares is her gratitude to her Heavenly Father for all she has, to her husband who is by her side and works with her daily, to her children and grandchildren and the great love they all share and to all of us consultants. Her words of gratitude are always so heartfelt and tender. I would truly like to be more verbal with my gratitude as she is.
Another example is a young man that was saying a prayer at a church event I attended many years ago. His prayer seemed to last forever and at first I think there was a little snickering going on because of it, but in his prayer he expressed his thanks for the smallest things without fearing what his peers might think. I have thought of his prayer many times over the years and how he was thankful for so many things and not ashamed to express how he felt. I would like to be better at showing my thankfulness for all the smaller things in life, not just the big things.
Recently someone was telling me that they were not taught how to write thank you cards and that is why they didn't send them. I wasn't taught either, but I have always loved to write letters and so didn't have a problem writing thank you cards. Although this is a practice I quit doing a few years ago, I have a great desire to begin again. In looking for some inspiration on doing just that, I found this quote:
"Don’t think of writing thank you notes as a chore, some obligation to be filled or box to check, think of expressing gratitude as a way to become an artist, and the thank you note as your artwork. There are many different kinds of art and artists, decide who you are—Michelangelo, Monet, or Pollock—use this as a starting place from which to inspire and launch your thank you note writing." Taken from Tips on Writing and Showing Gratitude website.
Someone who is really wonderful at writing thank you notes is my mother-in-law. She is so faithful in showing her thanks for everything from gifts to time spent together. She is definitely someone to emulate in the practice of sending thank you notes.
One last quote to share with you, again from President Monson: "A grateful heart, then, comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives. This requires conscious effort—at least until we have truly learned and cultivated an attitude of gratitude. Often we feel grateful and intend to express our thanks but forget to do so or just don’t get around to it. Someone has said that 'feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.'”
My focus this week is to make the conscious effort to show my thankfulness to those around me and in particular to those who have supported me through the last few trying years.