ENJOY this GREAT article by Dr. Jane Geiger featured in the November GRATITUDE ISSUE:
Thanksgiving Living . . . Living Thanksgiving:
Expressing Appreciation 365 Days a Year
During the holiday season, the invitation to express thanks and give gifts is clearly on the calendar. Birthdays and anniversaries keep the mind on granting gratitude. It’s not a bad plan, but we can do better; A daily dose?
Words and gifts expressed from the heart can make someone’s day. Or, it could be a monumental misfire. Giving TO the heart of your special person could make all the difference. Giving thanks with some awareness may put you on target. Learn love languages, including your own. Become fluent. Keep talking.
While researching and conducting interviews for this concept, Thanksgiving Living, I listened to dozens of languages of love and hundreds of shades and tones to match. It’s a long list. To shorten our trek to becoming gracious and grateful all year long, let’s begin with an inventory of past mishaps and misfires followed by a Top Ten List of winning ways:
Mishaps and Misfires
- Have you ever given a gift that you actually wanted for yourself? While this can be hilarious (my practical dad gave my hospitable mother a chainsaw for Christmas one year), it can also hurt or just fall flat. She gave him a silver chafing dish set. Thankfully, both parties were in on the gig. To the four children watching, it was tense at first, then hilarious.
- Have you ever attempted to express gratitude for something that didn’t quite hit the mark with your friend, co-worker, beloved or family member? You thought you nailed it. They didn’t feel the love. Misfire.
- Did you ever clean the house, clean out the car, perform an act of service and kindness for someone only to annoy or irritate them? Did they even notice?
Moving from Missing the Mark to Hitting the Target
- What is your friend or colleague’s favorite way to receive thanks?
- Does your mom love gifts while your dad appreciates words?
- What is your favorite way to be thanked?
- What really makes you feel appreciated?
- What has worked before?
- What has failed?
- If you don’t know, or it’s unclear, ASK. :-) (One of the most powerful things I learned when conducting the interviews for this concept is that people often avoid asking personal or intimate questions, needing courage to overcome fear).
Top 10 List of Living Thanksgiving:
- Simply say, “Thank you” while expressing gratitude not only for the action but also the person. This can be done on a Monday . . . possibly, preventing “A Monday.”
- Clearly communicate gratitude for the person by tapping into their love language. If Tuesday is open, you may tap in on a Tuesday.
- Express “Atta girls” and “Atta boys” in front of others, encouraging the recipient of your praise by elevating them in front of their peers – noticing, then promoting. This could be “Thankful Thursday” on your calendar.
- Give meaningful touches to the ones closest to you, and those who don’t mind a pat on the back or a hug once in a while. If this expression is permissible, you may want to celebrate National Hug Day on Tuesday, January 21, 2014.
- Commit to noticing and expressing in a timely manner. Everyone appreciates this. Swift thanks rocks.
- If gifts are meaningful to those around you, consider the “fit” – great pens and sticky notes for a writer; kitchen and gourmet items for the chef or cook; a gift certificate for a dinner out for moms and dads who need a break.
- When quality time means the most, schedule some. She or he will thank you for it. Everyone’s time is valuable, and giving time is a great gift. Be concrete – calendars, day, time, venue, menu.
- If the written word means the most to the object of your appreciation, take the time to write a note, a card, a novella, or draw a cartoon series. Good luck with that.
- When help is what they need or want, offer to help out, pitch in, and share the load. Single people, especially, appreciate this.
- If dining with others hits the mark, you may want to express thanks to your special person/people by inviting him/her/them out to dinner . . . or, in for dinner, simply setting extra plates around your table.
HAVE FUN cultivating your Thanksgiving Living efforts! Get creative! Think. Notice. Observe. Give thanks daily, year-round. You can get to the win/win by paying attention instead of paying for stuff. Appreciate your mate. Give thanks – it’s free. And, remember, to ASK rather than assume . . . or, you could be the one giving the red polar ski jacket to your non-athletic anemic special person who hates snow skiing and never wears red -- never, not ever.
Dr. Jane N. Geiger, a counselor to those who may misfire, is available to help you take one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind . . . drink Tang, get your astronaut on, and rocket yourself from misfiring to hitting the mark, one step at a time. Dr. Geiger and her staff may be reached at writerscupofgrace.com. They would appreciate that.