It recently occurred to me that in general practice, we don’t often take the time to tell someone how amazing we think they are until it’s too late, if at all. It seems that it isn’t until someone’s passing that we take the time to truly talk about how they’ve impacted our lives in a positive way. Why is that? Why do we wait to talk about how wonderful we think people are? And how sad is it that that person never gets to hear it for themselves?
With Thanksgiving come and gone and the holiday season in full force, I decided to try something new. Instead of simply sharing something I’m grateful for as table conversation over family dinner, I decided to take the entire month of November to practice 30 Days of Gratitude.
For 30 days, I reached out to people who have touched my life in a positive way and I took the time to let them know exactly why I was so grateful to know them. 30 days, 30 different people, 30 heart-felt messages of gratitude. I didn’t just reach out to say I thought they were incredible or simply send a “thank you.” I spent time trying to craft detailed messages of how they’ve touched my life. Some people were close friends or family members, but others were distant acquaintances that touched my life in a way they probably never even realized.
At the very least, I was hoping to put a smile on their face by letting them know they’ve touched my life. What I didn’t expect was the amount of love and peace I gained from such an exercise. Some people responded with an emotional thank you, some reciprocated with thoughtful messages that brought me to tears, and some didn’t respond at all; but every single one gifted me by helping me revisit those positive relationships or encounters.
Taking the time to tell people how much they mean to us can honestly be transformative. It surfaced moments with relative strangers that I didn’t realize I held so dear to my heart and it brought gratitude to the forefront of every single day.
You know what the best part is? We don’t have to limit ourselves to showing gratitude to one day a year or just the holiday season or even during birthdays or events. We can, and SHOULD, let the people in our lives know how grateful we are for them right now.