The morning of my birthday, for some strange reason, I woke up at 5:30a and couldn't go back to sleep. I walked downstairs to my kitchen and pulled out the ingredients to make blueberry muffins. In the process, I called my mom, the true early bird. To my surprise, my mom was only just waking up!
"Um...hello? Are you okay," she asked me (she knows I don't do mornings).
"Yes ma'am." (Southern girl forever)
"Well, Happy Birthday," she says.
My mom was the first and only person I wanted to talk to that morning, not because she's the only person (besides my husband and son) that I can tolerate so early), but because I woke up with such a feeling of gratitude. Why did I do that?
My son, Kent, probably knows the secret to my heart better than anyone. Or maybe he just knows which strings to pull, when to pull them and how tight. But it never fails...
Routines are a NECESSITY with toddlers. It makes mornings go by faster when they know there's an agenda each day and it rarely changes. Brush your teeth. Wash your face. Put on your clothes...
It was during one of those morning routines when I was focused on cleaning out the crust from his eyes that my 3 year old and I made eye contact. He looked at me and said, "Mommy, I like your face."
I could be wrong, but I think there may be more to me that he likes than just my face. I think children are smarter than we give them credit for and there's no denying that his comment was an expression of gratitude, whether or not he understood why. Why did he say that?
Gratitude is a Confirmation!
Why did I call my mom? Why did my son feel the need to express his appreciation for my face? Why? Because gratitude is confirmation that the things we do daily are worth it. Whether we help our child with a school project, help our co-worker meet their deadline, or even compliment our significant other, a 'thank you' is more than just an exchange of words for deed. It is a testimony that our genuine, authentic actions toward another human being has left a meaningful impact. These actions give us our purpose and the expression of gratitude is confirmation and in order to receive it, we must first give it.
Think about how you can authentically communicate your gratitude to those around you who are depositing value into your life. Watch how quickly it will return to you.
I'd really love to hear how you've shown or been shown gratitude lately. Let me know either in the comments or by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.