I haven't been able to get the kid's song "If You're Happy and You Know It" out of my head today. But instead of clapping your hands, my words keep coming back to saying thank you. I should've maybe changed the title to "If You're Grateful and You Know It" because that's really what this article is all about. Showing gratitude.
Happiness and gratitude go hand in hand. You can't really show or feel gratitude when your unhappy, and you can't be unhappy when you're being grateful. Nice circle to be caught in ... not a vicious one at all!
I'm probably dating myself, but there's a line in the Sound of Music song "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" that goes something like "love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay - Love isn’t love 'til you give it away."
It's the same with gratitude. As William Arthur Ward said "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." Which makes me think that gratitude isn't really much more than a thought until you give it away.
Unfortunately we live in the age of assumption. So many people think things, but never actually say them out loud. And so we may feel love, or happiness, or gratitude for someone and they won't have a clue because we never get around to telling them. We either assume they already know, or we assume they will reject our feelings and so we say nothing.
Let your feelings out and tell another person how you feel about them. I can tell you from experience that I absolutely love it when you email me or leave a comment on my blog and tell me you liked something I've written. You can't see my smile online when that happens, but if you show or tell someone in your physical life that you appreciate them you will definitely see their smile.
So how can you show your gratitude?
We already covered telling someone you love them and are grateful they're in your life. Here are few other ways you can show gratitude...
Write a thank you note to someone who has helped you.
People hardly ever write by hand anymore. Taking a minute to send a card with a handwritten message is a great way to show gratitude. I know my insurance lady will be getting one this week for finding me a great deal. :)
Smile at someone on the street or in line at the checkout.
It doesn't cost you anything, and you can show your gratitude and spread a little happiness by smiling at someone when you're both waiting for a streetlight to change or in line at the store or the bank or the coffee shop.
Give a friend a hug.
It's easy to assume your friends will always be there. Too often we take them for granted, and forget to show them how much we appreciate and love that they are in our lives. Giving a friend a hug is a great way to show your gratitude for their presence in your life.
Head outside and appreciate the sunshine and fresh air.
It's also way too easy to take nature for granted, especially if you live in an area where there is an abundance of open space. But believe me, when you live in an area where you don't get that or don't have a way to easily get to it, you really begin to appreciate every moment that you get to spend outside. Show your gratitude for the environment by doing whatever you can to preserve it, and get out there and enjoy it whenever you can.
Volunteer your time.
What better way to show your appreciation for everything you have in your life by helping out someone who has less or is going through a tough time. There is so much hardship in the world right now that we should, as human beings, be helping each other through them. Giving even an hour of your time each week is a great way to share your gratitude for all the good things in your life.
When you share your gratitude, you also benefit from it. Being grateful is a core part of the Law of Attraction -- what you put out is what you get back. Sharing gratitude and appreciation with others also sends more gratitude and appreciation back to you. And when you feel appreciated you can't help but also feel happier and more positive about your own life.
So, to paraphrase that wonderful children's song ... If you're grateful and you know it ... Show it!