Friday, November 22, 2013

Focus on Gratitude, Giving, and Appreciation

Helpful Hints from Harmony

Life is Good When You Live in Harmony

Hint #10:  Focus on Gratitude, Giving, and Appreciation

I call them “The Three Kings of Thanksgiving.”

We’re familiar with the Three Kings of Christmas: the wise men from the East who followed the star to find the Babe of Bethlehem; who brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to honor the newborn King; who heeded heavenly dreams and steered clear of Herod on their departure, thus saving Jesus’ life.  It’s hard to imagine how different would be the first Christmas and our Christmases today without them.

But “The Three Kings of Thanksgiving”?, you ask.

That’s my name for Gratitude, Giving, and Appreciation.  This triumvirate has great power to transform our Thanksgiving holiday into a season of exceptional joy.

Gratitude, especially enjoying and appreciating our abundance, creates greater abundance.  “Gratitude is the open door to abundance,” (Yogi Bhajan) and “Gratitude will open your heart as well.” (Dr. Cathy Phillips)

Thoughtful Giving makes a person come alive and develops more substance in the giver.  Thus those who give are more likely to “find themselves” because there is more to be found.  Deep and lasting joy comes from Giving and sharing.  The sweet and ironic arithmetic of mindful Giving is that both the giver and the receiver are added to and edified by the process. 

Thus the happiest people I know consistently give of themselves to address the needs of others.  As they do, they discover that their own needs are abundantly met.

If we give from the heart — regardless of what we give — the very act of giving blesses us in wonderful ways.  The generative, life-enhancing power of giving renews us and invigorates us whether we share our time, talents, compassion, or money. 

Appreciation is the act of expressing or giving gratitude to the people we love.  Of all the things to be grateful for this Thanksgiving season, among the most important should be the people in our lives. 

I’m grateful to my dear friend Nancy Kline, author of Time to Think and More Time to Think, for teaching me a simple yet powerful formula for telling a friend, family member, or colleague what I admire or appreciate about them.  She calls it “The Three S’s.”

Succinct:  Don’t go on and on, just say in a sentence or two a quality or character trait of theirs you like.

Sincere:  Speak from the heart; be honest and real and don’t try to overdo it.

Specific:  Vague generalities (“you’re such a nice person.”) don’t carry any weight—say precisely what you admire about them.

Giving gratitude by expressing appreciation is one of the sweetest ways I know to lift with the same motion two lives — mine and the person I appreciate.  What an efficient way to make the world a better place!

Like those other three kings of two millennia ago, the Three Kings of Thanksgiving transform the holiday.  

Gratitude guides us to a place of reverence for the goodness of life; Giving allows us to open our treasures and share them generously, and Appreciation lifts and protects the lives of others.

I have discovered in my own life that there is an incredible synergy when Gratitude, Giving, and Appreciation are used in tandem.  Each one boosts and energizes the others in an ongoing chain reaction of happiness.  Our joy is multiplied as the cycle is perpetuated.

May you and yours be blessed with an abundance of Gratitude, Giving, and Appreciation this Thanksgiving season!