November, the Month of Gratitude and Inspiration
November is the month of Thanksgiving. Yes, that means cooking and cleaning, family and friend, lots of indulgences and over-eating. But that's just on the surface. November is a time to look back and give thanks for the many things we can appreciate about this year. So RosieCentral is designating November the month of Gratitude and Inspiration in our lives and those of other women.
Most of our blog posts this month will be short. With that in mind, we hope you’ll visit us often and we’ll have fresh ideas for you almost every day.
PASS IT ON
And when there is an idea you like, we invite you to send it on to a friend. Let’s pass on these ideas that come from life experiences. Let’s inspire others in their lives — bring them joy and happiness.
Show your gratitude for others. And give them something to be grateful for.
We all matter.
We all can be sources of inspiration for others.
We all can enhance our own lives through the expression of gratitude.
November 1 -- Let's Get Started
It’s November 1 and I want to start with a story of gratitude. The story changed my perspective — gave me a new way of thinking about life and other people. I hope it will inspire you.
I had a colleague who was always a pleasure to be around. She was kind and considerate. You probably also have friends or colleagues that you might describe in this way.
So what was different about my colleague?
I didn’t find out until the memorial service. Various speakers addressed different aspects of her life. All the talks were interesting. Then one person spoke about my colleague’s daily habit of writing a letter expressing gratitude to someone she knew or had met along the way. I never knew about this.
This was before email and text messages. These were physical letters — written by hand, folded, and placed in an envelope that was then addressed and stamped.
Just imagine receiving an unexpected note in the mail. When you read it, the letter thanks you perhaps for some minor kindness you extended, or perhaps for being a friend, or perhaps for a professional courtesy you gave the letter writer, etc.
It occurred to me that day that at least two people benefited from this single expression of gratitude — the person sending the note and the person receiving the note.
I was so taken with this act of gratitude that I immediately made up my mind to do the same thing. And I did for a while. But then life got in the way.
Express Your Gratitude
Along the way, I generalized the concept. Email and text messaging make it so much simpler. Here’s my suggestion and thoughts on expressing gratitude as a regular part of your life.
HOW OFTEN TO SEND GRATITUDE —
Choose a specific day — maybe on Sunday or Monday. I’ve found it’s important to stick to one day. That works better than thinking “When I have some free time I’ll send a note of gratitude.” Trust me — no one ever has “free time”.
WHO TO SEND YOUR NOTE OF GRATITUDE TO —
Think of a person in your life who has helped you or worked for a cause you support, or been kind to someone you know, or lives the kind of life you admire, etc. Then send a text or email just letting the person know how grateful you are to have that person in your life.
KEEP IT SIMPLE —
Don’t make a big deal of it. This is not really about you — it isn’t about asking people to appreciate you. It isn’t about how long a message you can send. It is about expressing gratitude and giving your thanks to others. It is about letting others know they are appreciated. It is about bringing joy to the lives of others.
TEXT VS EMAIL VS DIGITAL CARDS VS PAPER CARDS VS IN-PERSON
We’re so lucky these days. My friend wrote notes on stationary. There really weren’t options other than an occasional Hallmark card. Now there are at least five options (six if you include stationary). Since your expression of gratitude isn’t about you, use the technology that is most appropriate for the other person. Each has its place in your expression of gratitude.
Text Messages and Emails
For example, some people communicate via text all the time. And if you have phone numbers, then a quick text is just perfect. It will give the recipient an almost immediate lift in her day. The same is true of email.
For a more elaborate presentation, you can use digital cards to convey your message. There are a number of free and paid services that have graphics to which you can add your personal message.
A friend introduced me to the line of Jacquie Lawson cards.There is a fee for use ($30 for 1 year and 45 for a 2 year subscription), but you can send as many cards as you like and the graphics are really great. I tried to find some of the free services to recommend, but mostly found those that are only free for a 7-day period. I’m sure there may still be some completely free ecard services, I just couldn't find them. Ecards might not suit your style, but they're worth considering. (And there are many paid ecard providers. I am not paid for the above link. It just happens to be the one I use.)
As I mentioned, sending gratitude notes is about the other person — not about you. That’s why I include “paper cards” in this list. I have one friend who loves cards. And when I write that person, I usually send a card through the mail, although I sometimes text. A good source for inexpensive cards? I use Trader Joe’s as my source. I am frequently there for grocery shopping and can often find just the right sentiment. (I know. Not everyone has a Trader Joe’s nearby. I’m lucky.)
There are many sources of paper cards. Find what you like and what fits your budget. Some people even make their own. That just isn't one of my talents.
I’ve added this last category based on my personal experience. I’ve been in stores when a stranger walks up and says something nice. For example, “Your smile has really made my day! I was feeling down until I saw you talking to the clerk. Thanks.” The truth? That comment made my day!
I now am on the lookout for ways I can express gratitude to a sister shopper. I stay away from anything that would be considered creepy. Just a nice, short expression of appreciation of another person.
Kindness and gratitude go a long way.
Express gratitude to others.