4 Ways to Deepen Your Gratitude: For whom are you grateful?

This is week four of my month-long quest to explore what it means to be thankful.


For whom are you grateful?

Grab a pen and write down the first few names that come to mind.

With Thanksgiving approaching, this question will undoubtedly be asked at dinner tables across the country, and answers will likely include spouses, children, or other family. Maybe some close friends or mentors will be mentioned, and the list will end there.

I think we can take our gratitude deeper.

Lately, I've been paying attention to the people in my life. Each night when I record what I've been thankful for using my DTH method, I take time to recall who has crossed my path that day. Naturally, my husband, sister, and my parents come to mind easily, but after writing their names, I push myself to move beyond my family.

Here are a few examples to get you thinking.

1. After an evening spent with my book club, I looked at the picture I'd taken of everyone gathered around the table. I paused to reflect on each woman while looking at her face and completing the following thought.

I'm grateful for her because...

Because she was my first best friend... Because she had the courage to join a new book club... Because her laughter and joy got me through high school... Because she is genuine... Because she brings a different perspective to the discussion.

2. Once a week I visit a physical therapist who works to release the tight muscles in my neck, back, and legs. I've seen her every Wednesday for a year and have built a trusting relationship. I'm continually grateful for her knowledge and skills along with her friendship, so I decided to let her know. I retrieved a blank card (I keep a box of them in my office for just this purpose), and sat down to write Megan a note. 

Putting our appreciation in words helps our gratitude grow.

I gave it to her on my way out, and the next Wednesday she thanked me for the card saying that it had "made her whole week!"

3. When I post photos or links on social media, I pay attention to the reactions (likes, loves, laughs, and comments). This is not unique. However, I take it one step further and read each name aloud to myself, reflecting on how the person came to be in my life. I acknowledge my gratitude for each connection and the impact my post may have had on their lives.

When we share on social media, we're reaching our hands out to others. 

This is why I am intentional and discerning about the content I share, bearing in mind that I am thankful for every one of my followers. 

4. I use many assistive devices to get around: a cane, a walker, and a wheelchair. My visible need for help has created a connection with strangers. Most often it happens when I'm trying to open a door or reach something on a tall shelf, but sometimes it's a person who has experienced physical limitations, too. Granted, I live in a relatively small town and in a rural state that's known for its friendliness, but I am repeatedly grateful every time a stranger stops to help or visit. 

We can extend our thankfulness to people we don't know.

Store clerks and shop attendants, fellow drivers and pedestrians on the street, anyone who crosses your path and improves your day.

As humans, we are all connected, woven together in the tapestry of life. Some threads are closer and thicker, and some are just distant strands, but all come together to form the face of humanity.

For whom are you grateful?

How can you expand your list to deepen your thankfulness?

Some Doorways from this week:

  • Mom and I have season tickets to the women's basketball games at MSU, and we often sit with other regular attendees. Last week, one of the people who we had sat behind for two years decided to reach out and get to know us. She opened up about being diagnosed with cancer and made a special effort to learn our names. This connection was beautiful.
  • The ramp in my wheelchair van is still not working, but instead of having to drive it in to the shop and wait on it all day, the technician offered to come to my house and get it. I was grateful to spend the next five hours at home rather than in town, and his generosity touched my heart.
  • At my book club meeting I got to try some Japanese candy. I marveled that I could go to a local store and buy this sweet treat from a country that's over five thousand miles away!


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