How do you show your gratitude?

Photo courtesy of Kate Ware (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Kate Ware (Creative Commons)

Gratitude really does make a difference.

Our message at church this week was about gratitude (thank you Pastor Chris!), and it made me start thinking about the two ways to be grateful – being grateful for the blessings that I have, and also extending gratitude to those around me who are making a difference.

I am constantly grateful for simple things like a beautiful sunrise, praise music while I run, and the love of good friends and family. I’m not as good about telling those around me thank you for what they are doing.

I do a lot of volunteer work with an organization called I Run 4 (read more here), which pairs runners with buddies who have special needs and challenges from Down syndrome to autism and everything in between. We run in honor of our buddies and dedicate our miles to them.

My work as connection coordinator involves a lot of emails and communications with both runners and buddies/parents as I coordinate the matches. Sometimes, members of the group will thank me for the time and effort I put into it, and it always gives me pause. I do it because I love seeing the impact on these lives and not for any glory or pats on the back. But it does make me feel good when someone notices and says a simple thank you for the work I put in.

With that in mind, the other day I made a special point to say thank you to one of my team members at work who had been working extra hard and doing a terrific job. I was amazed at the look on his face, and the way he kind of stood up straighter. It really mattered that I had noticed and acknowledged his contributions.

I don’t do that enough. I need to look for opportunities to say thank you – constantly. Not in an insincere way, but by honestly noticing how others make a difference and then saying so.

I also need to be more aware of the many blessings that I have instead of obsessing over how much work I have or how irritated I am that something isn’t going right. Even in the challenges, there are blessings, and sometimes they are more impactful than when things are rolling along smoothly. I need to be grateful for it all.

How do you show your gratitude?