An Attitude of Gratitude
Take your “Thank You” to the Next Level
Even young children learn to say thank you in response to a kindness. Now that you’re older, you can go beyond that simple thank you by taking on a grateful attitude. You don’t even have to wait for someone to do something kind for you. You can choose to have a permanent attitude of gratitude!
What is Gratitude?
Gratitude begins with a feeling of appreciation. This means you recognize some value, or goodness, in a situation. It could come from something fun, like receiving a new set of Lego® you’ve always wanted. Other times, appreciation just comes from seeing the bright side when things don’t go your way.
Once you have the good feeling of appreciation inside of you, it starts to seep out in the form of thankfulness. You might tell a person, “Thank you,” or say a silent prayer of thanks. Maybe you just smile a bit more or stop worrying so much.
You don’t have to wait to receive a present in order to be grateful. You can choose to appreciate the good in any situation. Then, you’ll find ways to feel thankful even when times are tough.
That doesn’t mean all your problems will disappear; it just means they won’t feel as bad. If you end up getting a headache from the Independence Day fireworks show, you can be grateful that it only comes once a year. Or that you live in a free (but noisy) country. It probably won’t make your headache go away, but you’ll have a happier heart.
People show their feelings in different ways. Dr. Gary Chapman calls these different ways the “love languages.” He has found that people share loving feelings through words, time, gifts, service, and touch. You can use any of these love languages to say thank you or express gratitude.
The language of words might look like a written thank-you note or sound like a sincere conversation over the phone. The language of time might mean taking a walk with someone or turning off the TV to listen to what that person has to say. A thank-you gift can be bought in a store or homemade.
To show gratitude in the language of service, try doing something kind or helpful, like raking a neighbor’s leaves or picking up your sister’s toys. You can say thank you through touch with a hug, a pat on the shoulder, or a high five.
When you show gratitude, it’s good to think about the language the other person would appreciate most. You might want to give Grandma a quick hug, but she might prefer a handwritten note that she can read again and again. When in doubt, do both!
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