“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” – Cicero
As November arrives and the holiday season inches closer, many begin to consider all the blessings in their lives. From family and friends, to homes, jobs, and Karate, we have so much for which to be grateful. Expressing gratitude is a way of acknowledging the important impact others have had on our lives. When we fail to acknowledge the contribution of others to our success and achievements, we can become arrogant and selfish.
But exactly how do we express our gratitude to others? Is saying thank you enough? Or, is there more to expressing true appreciation than mere words? John F. Kennedy once stated, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” When we live by those words of gratitude, we take those actions that truly show our gratefulness for the contributions of others to our lives.
For a good example, look no further than your Karate training: Your instructor spends several hours each week teaching classes. In addition, he or she continues to spend a great deal of time and effort continuing his or her own training, in order to offer the best instruction possible. However, if you fail to practice at home, if you give less than your best in class, or if you fail to attend class regularly, are you showing true appreciation for the efforts of your instructor?
As Thanksgiving draws near, consider the actions you can take that will reinforce the words of gratitude you offer for the many blessings in your life. Think of specific things you can do for those in your life that will not only serve as a one-time thank you, but also as a recurring act of gratitude. Use the example above as a way to generate ideas for these actions.
We all enjoy feeling appreciated. When others express their gratitude to us, we gain a sense of accomplishment, our self-confidence increases, and we are encouraged to continue making positive contributions in the lives of others. As Virginia Arcastle once stated, “When people are made to feel secure and important and appreciated, it will no longer be necessary for them to whittle down others in order to seem bigger by comparison.”
So, when we express gratitude, we are not only making other people feel better about themselves, we are giving them the motivation to do good things for others. Our expression of gratitude is directly related to positive outcomes. Think about that the next time you are saying thank you to someone.