Putting Words on your Gratitude

By Leslie Sann

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like
wrapping a present and not giving it.
~ William Arthur Ward

There is a way to say thank you that goes beyond the words, thank you. Gratitude is a way to celebrate how the actions of another have enriched your life.

Let me demonstrate what I mean. To me, there is a significant difference between hearing,

You are terrific. Thank you.
I am inspired by how clear and calm you were when things were chaotic around here yesterday. You showed me what is possible. Thank you. Your peaceful energy contributes.

The second statement informs me what that person finds terrific and how my terrificness matters to them. I like that.

Notice how this sentence clearly and specifically expresses how I made a positive difference. Making a positive difference is a basic human need. It is nurturing to hear what kind of difference we make in the lives of others.

How to Express Gratitude:

Focus on what specific action occurred that added value to your life for which you feel grateful. 

Example: My friend picked me up at the airport after a long overseas flight.

How do you feel (in this moment) as you recall this action? 

Example: Relieved, happy, and cared for.

Therefore, gratitude might sound like this: 

Thank you for picking me up at the airport. I feel happy, loved, and cared for. You have made my world easier and more relaxed today.

If I choose to be grateful to myself, I will use the same tools. For example, I could say to myself: 

Wow, I love you, Leslie.

That would feel good since I enjoy expressing my loving with myself. And I could give to myself even more deeply by saying, 

I appreciate you for staying true to your exercise commitment. I feel strong and vital. Moving that piece of furniture was easy. Thank you.

I encourage you to play with this. Be clear and specific when you share your gratitude with others. Notice if it makes a difference to you and the other person. Taking the time to be clear in this way deepens the experience of gratitude.

Examples of Gratitude:

  • Thank you for the ride to the community gathering last week. I’m very grateful because my car is in the shop and no one was home to take me. I couldn’t have gone if you hadn’t said yes.
  • Thank you for your ideas during the meeting. I appreciate your contribution to the team.
  • I’m touched that you offered to watch your sister because I’m tired and can now rest. I appreciate your help.

We can change our lives and contribute to others by expressing our gratitude. ‘Tis the season to be grateful. Go forth and share your grateful heart!

I would appreciate discovering if this makes a positive difference to you. It would contribute to my deepening understanding of this way of choosing gratitude.

Yours from Planet Joy and Gratitude,