The Importance of “Thanks” and “Giving”

November 24, 2010 by Lynn Faughey

During this Thanksgiving season, it’s common for people take the time to reflect on all the reasons to be thankful for blessings in their lives.  For others, the holidays are a difficult time, and they may be lonely or stressed and find it hard to be thankful.

Many of you that know me well know that I am going through some struggles myself in my personal life these days and I wanted to reflect on my own thoughts about this topic.  My close friends know that I am the eternal optimist always seeing the glass as half full instead of empty, and a true believer in “things happen for a reason.”  So, I have come to conclude that no matter how difficult times can be, there is always something to be thankful for.  All we have to do is turn on the local news and we are suddenly reminded of how lucky we are in comparison.  It’s so easy to lose focus and dwell on what we don’t have versus what we have.

At this time of Thanksgiving, I’d like to offer some suggestions about “Thanks” and about “Giving.”

1)      Say “Thanks” often.  Have you noticed that people never get tired of hearing “thanks” or “I really appreciate that”?  And it doesn’t need to be an elaborate thank you to work wonders.  No need to stock up on thank you cards for every occasion.  A simple phone call or an email of thanks goes a long way.  In these days of our busy lives, a simple “Thanks!” over a text message can really brighten someone’s day.  If you are a Facebook fan, even a post saying, “Today I am thankful for ______” is a great way to show people how much you appreciate them.

2)     Live each day with a thankful heart.  While there is power in saying “Thanks” with words, there is just as much power in saying “thanks” with our actions.  When we are truly thankful, gratitude shows in our attitude. So, for example, when your child does something really amazing, acknowledge it with a grateful smile of appreciation or a hug.  Or when a good friend is always there for you, take the time to ask them to go out for a walk or join you for lunch.  It’s an extra step to show them your how much you appreciate them, with actions that take some effort and time.

3)     Give without expecting thanks in return.  Think about this one honestly for a moment.  When we give someone a gift or help someone out, are we annoyed when we don’t get a thank you?  While it is only natural for everyone to want to feel appreciated, it’s not really giving from our heart if we only do it with the expectation of thanks.  My wise father said to me once, “Real charity is giving with no expectation of anything in return.”  So, the next time you give a gift or do something nice for someone, feel good about what you are doing and how it makes the other person feel.  If you happen to get a thank you in return, just consider it a bonus!

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