ife moves fast. I lost my dad when I was twenty-one. There are many things I wish I had told him. I wish I had expressed to him how grateful I was for his years of hard work as a construction worker and HVAC technician. I wish I had told him how thankful I was for the way he encouraged me to be of service to others. I wish I had thanked him for teaching me the value of being thrifty and of saving. I wish I had thanked him for teaching me how to work hard and never give up.
Sometimes it's difficult to thank people in person. We think it may be a sign of weakness. Or maybe we think people will think we are being cheesy or childish. It's hard to find the right tone, to be serious about our thanks and yet not too serious. Perhaps we think we don't need to express our thanks because the people in our life somehow already know that we appreciate them--or at least, we assume that they do. Maybe we don't even know how to thank someone because it has not been part of our normal routine.
But nothing is as important as expressing thanks, especially to the people who make our life richer and fuller. I believe that the quality of our thankfulness reflects the quality of our life. I'm from Niger, in West Africa, where I've seen some of the poorest people in the world express joyfulness and appreciation for life in a way that some people in America can only hope for. Our Western culture has made us think that the key to happiness is material wealth. But more and more research is proving that happiness is more about awareness and appreciation for the simplest parts of life.
When I started the practice of giving written thanks to a select group of people on a weekly basis, I found not only that I became more aware and appreciative of the talents and skills of those around me, since I paid more attention to that, but I also felt like I became more in control of my own life, as if the ability to thank was some kind of new superpower I had discovered. Everyone's victories and virtues became as important to celebrate and acknowledge as my own. I gradually began to feel more connected.
Perhaps my reaction is unique. Perhaps it is not. I invite you to register for Thanktime today so you can discover that for yourself. It's free. Use it regularly, at least once a week, to thank people and to give thanks for the special or memorable moments of your life, or even for just the simple, daily things, like enjoying a good meal or spending time with a loved one. After a few weeks, please tell me whether (and how) you find Thanktime to be useful. I appreciate your feedback.
Thank you for reading, and happy thanking :)