Show Some Gratitude

I just picked up a box of 50 thank you notes at Target–these lovely cherry blossom ones by Gartner Studios.  I wanted to have the box on hand to send off those little thank yous that we often forget to send.  I have so many things to be thankful for in my life–my neighbor who makes and shares soup with me, my sister who is always pet sitting our dog Rico, and other folks who are not even friends, but who do something that deserves a little recognition.

I often vow to hand make all of my thank you notes. But if I wait to hand make them, I wait to send them, and some get lost in the shuffle.  Having notes on hand increases the likelihood that I’ll actually send them and that people will know how grateful I am for their love, help, or support.

I was inspired to pick up the thank you notes by a book I read earlier this year. A friend of mine recommended 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik.  Kralik pledged to write 365 thank you notes in one year to make him more mindful of all of the things he should be grateful for.  He chose to do this at a time in his life when he didn’t have much going his way.  Divorced, aging, and in poor health, his girlfriend left him, his law practice was going under, he lived in a low-rent apartment and he felt distanced from his grown children.  After much self pity, he had a realization that he needed to be more thankful for what he did have going for him and for all of the little things that went right each day.

This lesson is a hard one, especially when we’re facing challenges.  This summer I lost my father-in-law, my mother underwent a tough round of chemo and radiation, my dog went blind and I’m about to lose my grandmother (and only living grandparent).  I say these things not to get sympathy, but to say that it’s been easy for me to be distracted these days by all that’s going wrong.  But I think John Kralik is on to something and I’m going to give it a go.  I can’t promise 365 thank yous this year, but I can promise to be more aware of the joys in my life and of the opportunities to thank someone for their help, for their support, or for a job well done.

If you want to take part, please do.  The Note Project is encouraging folks to “take the pledge” and send a note of gratitude to someone in their life.  You can share your notes on their website, or just read others’ for encouragement and ideas. And, according to Vogue, it’s never out of vogue to send handwritten thank you notes.

If being thankful to others isn’t enough, and you’d rather give someone something to be thankful for, then pop on over to 365 Give and see how one woman has been giving every day for almost a year. Some of her “gives” are very inspiring and may encourage you to do the same.