Welcoming and presenting Dr. Kathy Garland, author of ‘Kwoted’, who have authored today’s #100DeedsOfChange article and shares her experiences of how gratitude and appreciation can work wonders in making a difference, not just in the society, but within, too! Before we could read her contribution, let us know her better.
30 Days of Gratitude: Another Deed of Change
– Kathy Garland
Many times we associate paying it forward with offering small acts of kindness, such as buying the person behind us a cup of coffee or paying for someone’s lunch. But this past year, I learned that there’s another way to pay it forward.
Last year for my husband’s birthday, I decided to celebrate him in a different way. I was determined to do some thing that he would remember for years to come. I noted all of the positive things I liked about him. Because his birthday was seven days away, it was the perfect time to begin what I named The Seven Days of DG. Each day, I posted a very specific message of gratitude to his social media page. There were seven reasons dedicated to appreciating him as a person. He adored it. He even began to look forward to the day’s post. And I found joy in his enjoyment.
Then, I figured why not practice gratitude for other people in my life? Since it was November 1st, I thought to send a gratitude message each day for one month to someone for whom I was grateful. For my own rules, this could be any person: family, friend or colleague. Each person that I sent one to also had to be someone for whom I could deliver a genuine and heartfelt thought about his or her influence in my life. I promised myself I wouldn’t be sending out made-up messages just to fulfill the day’s quota.
I texted, emailed and snail-mailed (for my 87 year-old Grannie) a daily gratitude message. I contacted former students, family, friends, and colleagues whom had influenced my life in some way.
Some people, like my goddaughter responded with, “Thanks. That was unexpected.” And that was the end of that particular gratitude experience.
However, another response became much more commonplace: a return response where the other person told me how grateful they were for me. Here’s an example.
“Do you think people feel obligated to say something back?” DG asked.
Obligated? I didn’t think so. But I couldn’t be for sure. I mean, I suppose it is a natural response to want to say something back to the person, but to feel obliged? It wasn’t like when someone says, “I like your hair,” and then you do a once-over in order to give a return compliment. Or was it? Who knew?
This is what I knew for sure. The replies were surprising. I began the month by putting a little positivity into the universe through small expressions of gratitude. Those expressions manifested gratitude right back to me. And, the positivity uplifted my spirit a little bit. There were things I hadn’t heard, like how much my older cousin actually looked up to me, or how inspiring I was to a high school friend. My aunt said that the message was timely as she was having a hard day. And it made me feel good to know that a few kind words were able to restore her world a little bit.
You hear it all the time. “Give me flowers while I can still smell them.” I agree. Tell people how much you appreciate them, and don’t be afraid to be specific. Most people don’t realize that you’re grateful for their presence. And even if they are aware, it doesn’t hurt to remind them. Can you think of 30 people to whom you could offer gratitude? If so, start today, and watch this small deed shift their worlds and yours.