How do you express your gratitude?

I actually saw this prompt from earlier in the day but decided to skip it. Not because I couldn’t have written a response, but because I have a draft piece I have been trying to finish since yesterday.

Then at 20:30 I saw this Instagram memory.

Instagram post, 2 July 2018

The caption reads:

Taking stock… Tis good to take time to be thankful. #givethanks

#attitudeofgratitude #takingamoment

When this photo was taken, I was sat in one of my favourite coffee shops in Jakarta, Guten Morgen (just a 5 min walk from my house).

Give Thanks

Having looked through my Google photos for the original photo—give thanks for technology!—here are some of the things I was giving thanks for.

  • Breathing
  • Baby Shark postcard : )
  • Having some time to myself
  • Chips (Guten Morgen’s chips were enak!)
  • A good 1-1 mentoring session with a team member
  • The Ibu I passed 4-4 Times a week on the way to and from work. She always greeted me with a smile, a  wave or when I slowed down enough to be present for it, a warm chat.
  • Etc. Etc.

In Everything Give Thanks

give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Christian Standard Bible.

When I was younger I remember querying if this was even humanly possible. I mean how could you possibly be thankful for everything!?

So I decided I was going to test the premise. In every situation I encountered I looked for something to be thankful for. Albeit at times said through gritted teeth.

Such as when I was having to do the washing up instead of my brother! Picture a fuming me standing at the sink saying,

Thank you God that I have hands.

Overtime, finding something to be thankful for became easier and my teeth weren’t so gritted!

What did I learn?

  • That in many circumstances, even the rubbish ones, there can often be something—even if just one—that I can say a thank you for.
  • That my intentionality in looking for something to be thankful for, made me.more atune to what there was to see.
  • That practicing gratitude is a muscle that can be built.
  • That regularly noting/writing down what you are thankful for (such as in the photo) is good for mnd and soul. Once you begin to take stock, you can be surprised by how many there are or that there were actually some positives to your week, day, meeting etc.

This isn’t to say that one should accept all circumstances as good or be thankful for every circumstance. We live in a world where many bad things happen and as I say in one of my poems, ‘Permission Granted

Permission to say, this sucks!

Take Stock

Make a habit of looking for the good and when you find it, give thanks. —I do so audiblely.

Write the things you are thankful for down in a journal, on a device, post-its, or on a noticeboard.

As well as responding with thanks in the moment, consider setting aside even 5 mins aside during each day to do a Gratitude Inventory.

It might be slow at the beginning or even -like me at the start- through gritted teeth, but if you stick with it, I’m confident that will change.