Gratitude – Not Just for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a time when we naturally give thanks. Along with some of the more obvious things, such as abundant food, gatherings with family and friends, and special traditions, this holiday sets the table for deeper appreciation. It drives us to reflect, identify, and acknowledge many aspects of our lives that we are grateful for.
It’s my favorite holiday and maybe that’s why. The vibe of Thanksgiving is fun, light, and low stress. Even when faced with some family tension, it is a bit easier to brush off the friction. Maybe because the aura of gratitude is ever-present and pulls us to be kind and forgiving to each other, rather than critical and judging.
What if that was our mantra on any day? On every day?
The Gratitude Approach
When we have gratitude for others, it also changes how we relate to them. If we are appreciative of what they do or how they do it, it brightens the atmosphere when we say ‘thanks, job well done!” For some of us, this might come more naturally at home. But it is just as powerful in the workplace, whether it’s a sentiment with share with an employee or colleague.
Even when we are upset or mad with a co-worker, gratitude can play a significant role. If we pause before reacting, it can give us a place to begin. First, identify some aspect about the person or situation that you are grateful for and start from there.
When it comes to the trouble spot, assume best intent. In other words, start to formulate questions about why someone may have done something. Rewrite the story you already have in your mind (such as, ‘He doesn’t care about me; he’s always late to our meetings.’) to something that invites best intent (‘He must have been trying to finish up that other project that I know is due today.’).
The Difference It Makes
Broaching a conversation through this lens of gratitude automatically reframes things, allowing you to come from a place of curiosity and learning, as opposed to blame. It also saves us (and the other person) from unneeded stress and assumptions. As we begin to take this approach more often, it’s easy to notice others responding in kind because they’re more relaxed and trusting in our presence.
As you enjoy your Turkey Day activities, I know many of you will be giving thanks. But remember, as you finish up your pumpkin pie, your gratitude doesn’t have to end with that last bite. As you head back into your workdays the following week, keep the spirit of Thanksgiving alive by maintaining a focus on gratitude and appreciation. It will change the way you think of everyone, including yourself!
Thank you, Charlie Brown, for reminding us of that!
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