Gratitude seems to be on a lot of people’s minds lately. A quick scroll through my twitter feed this morning is evidence. Many tweets and blog posts encourage others to be grateful and thankful. In a world full of negative press and fake news, it’s refreshing to see people express authentic and unconditional gratitude.
One of my favorite ways to express gratitude comes from Tisha Richmond and Tara Martin. They collaborated and developed the genius idea of #gratitudesnaps. #Gratitudesnaps is based on the idea that connecting people based on positive and uplifting feelings makes for better human interaction. The pair encourages people to take a picture of something for which they are grateful, turn it into a snap, and post on social media, one picture for 30 days.
Finding and reflecting on gratitude can take on many forms and is not the same for everyone. I started a personal journey towards gratitude about a year ago. My daughters were seniors in high school and didn’t need me much anymore. I started working in a new environment, and my life was in a transitional phase. I needed to get my “why” back, so I started a gratitude journal. At the end of the day, I reflect and record three things for which I am grateful. In the beginning, my list looked something like this:
- My family
- My friends
- My pets
Not always in that order, but that summed it up for a couple of weeks. Unhappy with the list, I started to dig deeper and did some more reflecting at the end of each day. My gratitude expanded to the many little things that happen throughout my daily routine. Here’s what I learned on this yearlong journey towards gratitude:
It’s all about relationships
After reflecting on the three things that enriched my day, I found I could find things to be thankful for even on the darkest of days. I noticed a pattern in my journal. Many of the moments I was grateful for were connected to another person, someone who made my day better in some small way. Each opportunity to interact with someone is a choice. If people choose to interact with you, be grateful and make it count.
Finding gratitude can be challenging
Don’t get me wrong, we all probably have similar list like the one above and that truly is a blessing. But on days when you don’t see eye-to-eye with your boss, your family is taking you for granted, or your dog just ruined your brand-new carpet, it can be hard to find three things to write in a notebook.
On a particularly bad day last week, my journal looked like this:
- Gentleman who waved me in the merge lane
- Smile from a coworker in the hall
- The one flower still in bloom on my outside plants
Those challenging days push you to dig deep. It’s during those moments that you realize that you can find something to be thankful for each day.
A little thankful goes a long way
After a year of journaling, my gratitude bucket is full. As I continue to record and reflect on my own day, I am now ready to express my gratitude for others in my life. My new challenge is to take time at the end of each workday to reflect on a coworker who touched my day in some way and send them a note of gratitude.
I hope sharing what I have learned during this gratitude journey helps you to recognize all the big and little things that enrich your life on a daily basis. Whether it’s a #gratitudesnap, a journal, or a handwritten note to a colleague, take a step toward identifying at least one thing every day for which you are grateful.
Ali and I are both experiencing gratitude through our blogging journey. Each comment, like, and share fulfills us and shows us that it’s okay to be imperfect. For this, we are grateful. We are grateful for hidden leaders who realize that they don’t have to be perfect in order to lead.
Is there a hidden leader that inspires you? Show them your gratitude by commenting below. It might just make their own gratitude list a little longer.