The Art of Being Thankful
The Thanksgiving holiday tends to make us slow down and think about what exactly it is that we're thankful for. I am left to wonder however, why #I'mThankfulFor hashtags on twitter and countdowns of things we're thankful for on facebook only emerge in November.
I urge you this Thanksgiving holiday to pick up the thanks and not let it go. Carry the idea behind Thanksgiving into the new year and practice being thankful throughout the year.
Believe it or not, there truly is an art to being appreciative; an Art to saying Thank You. Those two words we utter so carelessly have actual meaning. Take time this season to embrace that, to embrace gratitude. When you say "Thank You," do you really mean it?
Slow down and take the time to absorb your feelings and emotions. The true meaning and benefits of the phrase are too often lost in the over rehearsed, no eye contact, common mumble.
Luckily, the art of saying thank you is easy to master. The art of saying thank you simply relies on the idea of being true to your words. Mean what you say, and say what you mean. Practice your appreciation by incorporating the following tips into your everyday life.
o Be direct. When someone does something that you appreciate, vocalize your thoughts. Not only will you express your gratitude for their thoughtfulness, but I guarantee you will make their day brighter.
o Be sincere. Cherish the time you are given with those you care about. Turn off the screen you so often find yourself glued to, and focus on making eye contact. (I love taking the time to determine exactly which shade of blue my boyfriend's eyes are on any given day. They tend to vary from a Clear Caribbean to a Denim Sapphire; each revealing a different mood.) As Liza often mentions, when you begin to notice the little things you appreciate the big things even more.
o Be personable. You will form stronger relationships if you speak directly to someone instead of at them. Incorporate their name. Everyone loves to be recognized by name for doing something good.
o Be aware. Look for opportunities to give thanks. Strive to show your appreciation multiple times throughout each day. When you are focused on living a thankful way of life, it becomes more than a word.
o Be specific. Instead of quickly mumbling a casual "thanks," acknowledge what you are truly thankful for. (Example: Thank You FOLK readers for your support and patience of our launch.)
o Be punctual. Don't miss the moment, acknowledge your appreciation when it occurs. If you are not able to say thank you in person, say it by pen. Thank you notes should always be mailed within two weeks of the time of thanks.
When you are direct, sincere, personable, aware, specific, and punctual those two simple words mean a lot more. Gratitude is not worth anything when you don't express it.
Step away from mass communication, and pick up a pen. It is ALWAYS appropriate to send a hand written Thank You note. Thankfulness shown by a text, email, or phone call is great but nothing compares to a thoughtful, handwritten note. When you can't say it in person, say it in pen.
How to write a Thank You note:
1. Begin by selecting stationary that suits you and your personality. It should be a simple design. The purpose of the stationary is solely to serve as a means of transportation for your penmanship; a stationary that is too busy will distract from the sincerity of the message.
2. Practice your penmanship. Cursive is not required, but neatness is a must! Take your time and concentrate on making your message legible. If you feel the need, practice writing on a scrap sheet of paper first.
3. Be thoughtful and all inclusive. Focus on putting meaning behind your words and elaborate on what exactly you are thankful for.
4. Sign the bottom, address the envelope, and place your thank you note in the mail.
Thank You for Being Thankful, Hillary
Hillary Lewis is the Director of Advertising and a contributing writer for FOLK.