Gratitude

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This is what you get when you search for the word gratitude, it is synonymous with thankfulness and my favorite gracious word.

Every November social media flocks to do the 30 Days of Thank(s)fulness, and I will confess my past participation of terribly incomplete attempts. The more I see these kinds of posts, the more I realize that some of these are grabs to appease the social masses and impress people who don’t care what you think. It’s the Hail Mary before Christmas so they can get the best gifts or whatever they think they are deserving of for being so gracious. Don’t get me wrong, some people are genuine in their posts, but many others are not. Their posts are set up in the formats of “I’m so grateful for Cate because she brought coffee to work for me today! (insert coffee emoji here)”

 Someone did something nice for you, but you’re not thankful for them any other time except when it benefits you is what I hear.

Maybe I overanalyze things, maybe people are reaching desperately for posts to get their 30 days in, maybe I don’t know. This is the way my brain works. When I started seeing a trend in posts like these, where people specifically chose a person and thanked them for a specific task that was beneficial self serving rather than something really to be gracious or thankful for the person got me thinking. I stopped doing my own versions of the 30 Days. For one, it was exhausting to come up with things that don’t make you sound like a complete narcissist, and for two, everything gets repetitive year after year-especially when you are married with children.

I started watching what others posted. It seems a bit silly, even intimate at times. Some people had things that you could tell they breathed some real life into writing about. The passion was in the words, others grasped at threads because their lives were stuck in the same mediocre spot mine had reached. I’ll share of few of my lame attempts of trying that I had to reach for.

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Grabbing at family, friends and children is the easiest and simplest play when reaching for anything to post as a married mother of 2. I even pulled the oops I forgot a day, let’s cram another post into 2 and hope nobody ever looks at this one again move. Looking through my history I realized that I wasn’t really grateful for many things outside of my family and friends. A trending theme amongst my years in comparison to some people. I thanked my technology for bringing me closer to my family and friends one time. Many times I was grateful for Day 19’s sentiment. I realize many people with multiple kids share similar things, especially my friends with multiple young children.

The core of my purpose though, is not to critique every little gratitude, but to make you think about how you are grateful and where it is really owed.

We shouldn’t waste time and energy focusing on the mediocre things like self-centered appreciations, but more so on the people who are there every day, doing little things to make our lives a tiny bit easier even though they aren’t obligated to. Gratitude is not a one month a year practice before the gifting season obligation. It is something that should be shown like manners. It should be used and reciprocated without hesitation. A natural reflex, if you will, used every day, that is genuine. Gratitude is not something you use as a ploy to post on social media and brag about, it is a feeling and an action rolled into one. It is something that you can actively participate in. The 30 Days of Thank(s)fulness is not the best example of showing or being thankful. I say this because not everyone wants to be outed on social media for the things they do for you, you might embarrass them. If you want to show someone you are thankful, actions speak louder than words, no matter how small the action is. A shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, a coffee date, writing snail mail-these things are priceless and cheap! People who respect and value you as much as you respect and value them, will be grateful for whatever you have to offer.

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