Monday, November 3, 2008

Gratitude, Appreciation and Thanks

Some Definitions:
Gratitude: being grateful
Grateful: appreciative of benefits received
Appreciate: to value
Thankful: conscious of benefits received
The grandfather asked his grandson, "If someone you know gives you 1 million dollars to spend in anyway you want, what would be the first thing you'd buy?" The grandson answered, "That's easy, I'd buy a thank you card."
Is that the first thing you would have bought? Where is the gratitude in today's world? Are we walking around with a feeling of entitlement, of I deserve this and if I don't get it, I've been slighted?
Being grateful is more than a feeling, it's an expression. Saying "Thank You" is a first step. However, you must act on thoughts of gratitude to demonstrate it. If you are thankful to your spouse or family member, prove it though acts of kindness. If you are thankful for your job, show it by arriving on time and working at 110%.
Acting on thoughts of gratitude don't take others for granted or make assumptions of how people are treating you. Grateful people don't walk around with a sense of entitlement, they treat every act of kindness as a blessing or a gift. Being grateful is more than just doing the right thing, a grateful heart has the intrinsic value of attracting more blessings.
Dale Carnegie in "How to Wind Friends and Influence People" says. "People have an eagerness to help when the little things they do are remembered, conversely there is a devastatingly demotivating effect when their efforts are unnoticed." When your actions don't show appreciation, you are basically telling the giver what they are doing doesn't matter that much. After all, if it did matter, wouldn't you notice?
Adopt an "Attitude of Gratitude." Demonstrating gratefulness requires conscious effort of energy and thought. Recognizing blessings and acting on them increases awareness and appreciation of the abundance in your life. It results in more positive emotions.
How can we show our gratitude?
-Don't "use" thankful, be and act thankful.
-Effort has to be honest and sincere.
-Be Courteous.
-Tell someone you appreciate their kindness and care.
-Be generous with praise.
-Acknowledge gifts immediately, especially if mailed or shipped, or hand delivered, as flowers.
-Write thank you notes. Make an effort, give it some thought, mention why you appreciate the gift and acknowledge the thought put into selecting it.
-Show respect for that person's deed and/or care.
-Give someone your time as thank you gift.
-Gifts of flowers, gift cards, or small tokens of thanks for large items/deeds are icing on the cake.
John F Kennedy said, "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

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