As we approach the week of Thanksgiving, I want to propose an experiment in shaping an attitude of gratitude as you approach the day of Thanksgiving. We know that our behaviors can shape our emotions. If we slam the car door each time we arrive at work, our emotions become aggressive. If we bow in reverence as we enter a sanctuary, we begin to feel the holiness of the space. If we buy some flowers for our spouse or friend, we arrive at their house with feelings of anticipation.
So here is the experiment. For the whole week before Thanksgiving, focus on saying THANK YOU in some form or other to every person you meet. Where you can be specific– “Thank you for the delicious meal.”–” Thank you for working so hard to get good grades in school.”– etc., that is best.
But get creative with the ways that you can express thanksgiving even to the strangers that you meet on the street, in the office, or in a store. It might feel a little strange at first, but try it in a variety of ways.–“Thank you for appearing so pleasant, it has lifted my spirits.” — Thank you for treating that delivery person with such respect.” “Thank you for serving our community as a police officer.” etc.
LIFTING SPIRITS, YOURS AND THEIRS
What I think you will find, is that you will affect both those you meet and yourself. People will be surprised, then pleased, then moved by your gesture. You have an opportunity to reinforce good behavior, lift spirits, and affirm people’s humanity. As you do it, you will find two things happening to you as well. First, the more creative you get, the more fun you will have. Second, you will find your own spirit being lifted in a mood of gratitude.
When you arrive at the actual thanksgiving meal, you will have a marvelous, and thankful story to share with those at your table. And, as you share your adventure in thanksgiving, you will spark their awareness of how thankful they are as well.