A few weeks ago in Total You Dance Company rehearsal we talked about gratitude.
I started by telling the dancers about my morning ritual. Every morning on the way to whichever studio or meeting I am driving to, I turn off the radio and fill the silence by saying what I am grateful for out loud. I try to do it the entire way to my destination.
It amazes me how overcome with joy and appreciation I become. It doesn’t matter how small or large the gratitude or item is, I just start talking out loud and once I get started, the ‘gratitudes’ pour out.
With sharing that, I had each dancer stand and fill two minuets with what they were grateful for.. I kept the time, and at first they all thought it would be hard to talk for 2 minutes straight.
Once they got going, it was quite incredible what these young ladies said. I was surprised at the beauty within each of these girls. Most said that they were grateful for their families, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. Some said they were grateful for specific colors, food, pets and my favorite, nature.
The one thing that I did not expect was the lack of materialistic things. Yes, some said their homes (which I am appreciative that they recognize the importance of being blessed by having a roof over their head) but no “stuff” gratitudes. Not once did someone say, “I am grateful for my toys, video games, phone,” or any of that! I am overwhelmed with the beauty of each of these girls that they posses inside and out. I could not be more grateful for such wonderful hardworking heart centered dancers.
We then sat down and wrote thank you cards to their dance teachers and parents. I encouraged them to write a thank you every week. For it is so fulfilling to express when you are grateful, to all the things and people around you. If you stay with me, there is a valuable lesson at the end of this post…
A couple weeks later, when the dancers were dismissed from class, I saw one dancer hand something to another dancer. When I asked what it was, she showed me and it was a thank you card, thanking the other dancer for coming to her birthday party! I love it!
I remember growing up and my mother had me write thank you cards for everything; my grandma for giving me birthday money, my school teachers for teaching me all year, my dance teachers, my friends for Christmas, birthday gifts or dong something nice for me.
I was always taught to express my appreciation and gratitude, and with a thank you card.
I used to write letters to my friends through-out Jr. High and High School, expressing how much I appreciated their friendship, their acts of kindness towards me or someone else, or when I saw them do an act that I thought was kind or bold.
One day my friend Lauren told me that some of my other friends were laughing and teasing me about my “love letters” saying that I was trying to ‘suck up’ and my niceness was fake.
I was devastated.
I always wrote from my heart and with best and sincere intentions. I was crushed that my friends thought that I was trying to win approval falsely or ‘suck up’ as they put it. I still feel the heart ache today.
From there I stopped writing my thank you’s and “love letters.” It stunted my expression of gratitude for a long while (my mother did not allow me to stop writing thank you’s to my family and neighbors of course, and I am glad she kept pushing that).
Fast forward to when I made Hawaii my home more than 15 years ago. I was working for a broadcast company selling radio advertising. I had no idea what I was doing and received very little training. I was sent out into the field trying to sell something that I had no idea about. I was able to finagle my way into getting a handful of owners of stores to meet with me. Needless to say, each one said no thank you, and I went on my way. Even though I felt discouraged, I sent a hand written thank you card to the owners thanking him or her for their time and consideration.
Several weeks later, to my surprise, one of the storeowners called me back! He said that he wanted to buy some add time on the radio station just for the fact that I had written him a thank you card and no one does that anymore! I was so stoked and excited!
This was a big confirmation and lesson to me.
Now, when I sit down each week to write my list of things to be done, I pick 5 people that I can write thank you‘s too. Not necessarily because they have done something special for me or given me anything. Most of the time I just write thank you’s to people for what they have shown me for being themselves, for the beauty they have inside. I want them to know that I see that and who they are and that I appreciate it.
Always express your gratitude.
Be bold and you will be rewarded.
No one doesn’t love to hear how grateful you are for them or something they have done for you.
No one doesn’t want to feel appreciated.
No one doesn’t want to hear that you love them and they are special to you.
Everyone needs to hear that they are loved and appreciated.
So pass the gratitude on shall we? Tell everyone who is around you that you appreciate them and are grateful for their presence in your life. Write a thank you card or two or THREE! Pass it on and you will feel the difference.
Thank you to you, who ever is out there reading this. I am so grateful for all of the people in my life. If I made a difference in your world today, give thanks by writing a thank you note to some one you love or someone who has made a difference in your life. No matter how small. It will make that someone’s heart swell with joy.
With Endless Love and Gratitude,