Gratitude--the rewards of giving rather than receiving
Would you like a tip for a peaceful holiday season? Express gratitude abundantly, at every turn, but don't sit around waiting for the favor to be returned. You'll be amazed when two things happen: 1. You won't be disappointed nearly so much and 2. you will see more gratitude coming your way than you've experienced in a long time. OK, this truly isn't inconsistent; let me explain why.
When you show great appreciation for the people around you and the things they do for you--and I'm talking all the LITTLE things they do, those people will be pleased to have you around. They will be pleased to do things for you. They will be GRATEFUL that you noticed them. And the result? When you least expect it, they will throw words of gratitude and appreciation your way too. I'm not suggesting that your reason for being grateful should be getting gratitude in return. Quite the opposite. I'm suggesting that your gratitude should stem from a desire to show others that they and their efforts are recognized and appreciated by you. Just watch and see what a little gratitude on your part will mean.
For example--when was the last time you thanked your partner for doing dishes, preparing meals, cleaning the house, taking care of you when you were sick? When was the last time you told your partner that you appreciated the hard work he/she puts in to put food on the table and run the household (even if you too participate in this)? When did you last recognize your partner's patience with you? When did you last hug your children and tell them you appreciate the chores they do around the house, the way they try to help out whenever they can, the fact they don't complain when they're told No? When did you last say, to a friend, a colleague, a mother, father, brother, son, daughter, neighbor--or anyone in your life--"I am so grateful to have you in my life! I should say that more often, and going forward, I will"? There are so many many things we all have that should elicit gratitude. Let's be aware of them, starting with this holiday season, and make it a point to be grateful for EVERYTHING all year long. Our lives will be infinitely better, and so will the lives of everyone with whom we come in contact. If effective communication is about saying the right words--and it is--I'm going to suggest the words we should all be uttering with frequency and joy--THANK YOU! I LOVE YOU! I APPRECIATE YOU! I AM SO GRATEFUL THAT YOU ARE IN MY LIFE! These words cost us nothing, yet they are priceless to those who hear them.
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