With Thanksgiving nearly upon us, our national focus shifts to thanks and appreciation. Interestingly, the Hebrew word for thanks, hoda’ah, comes from the same root as the word for acknowledgement. What this means is that we can’t really show our appreciation without first acknowledging what others have done for us.
So today, as we prepare ourselves for the Thanksgiving spirit, let us take a few minutes to think about who has made a positive impact in our lives, both large and small. Then see what you can do to offer thanks, such as by calling them up, sending them a quick note, or perhaps even a gift. (While saying thank you is certainly a wonderful gesture, I suggest that, whenever possible, you jot it down on paper. This allows the appreciation to linger on, and creates a deeper bond. I personally keep a folder of thank you notes that offer a quick pick-me-up and bring a smile to my face.)
When you offer thanks, remember to specify why you are appreciative and how that made you feel or what that did in terms of assisting you in some way. Such added detail deepens the gesture exponentially and helps reinforce the behavior in others.
Who are the people that deserve our thanks? Typically, it starts with family. Most of us have plenty of relatives, such as parents, our spouse, our children and siblings, to be thankful for and to express appreciation to.
There are also those in our workplaces who have given us opportunities and offered us guidance. Maybe they have simply been there as a listening ear or served as a good role model on how to conduct ourselves.
We also have benefited in immeasurable ways from our teachers and mentors. Perhaps we have seen them in many years, but that does not mean that we can’t reach out with a quick hello, an update on what we’re up to, and how we benefited from being in their class or charge. I just received such a note from a student who I taught about 6 years ago and it meant a lot to me.
And then there are the others in our lives who may not serve us directly, but nonetheless help us, such as the mailman, a bus driver, the post office clerk and the grocery checkout person. They, too, deserve acknowledgment and appreciation for the services that they offer that enhance our lives.
The best part of all is that appreciation not only lifts the recipient but it also helps the one who does the thanking. When we demonstrate appreciation that means that we have looked for the good, and made a point to identify what specifically we appreciate. It also means that we are putting ourselves in a more positive frame of mind, which brings a smile to our lips and encourages us to “pay it forward” to others. And, there is an excellent chance that those that we thank will want to serve us more in the future, in anticipation of additional recognition.
The saying goes that, “every day is Mother’s Day.” The same holds true, I believe, to Thanksgiving. The more that we condition ourselves to express appreciation, the more that we will enhance the lives of those around us, as well as our own.