Of course, Novvember is the month when we focus on being grateful. Thanksgiving is Thursday, so we are heading to the end of the cycle. I’m sure you, like me, have come to realize that we have so much for which we can be grateful, including our families and friends. I’m sure you realized how much you are loved by those you love. Being grateful works, and it helps you to become a much happier person.
While this is good, I want to challenge you with this question: Do you appreciate the people for whom you are thankful? Yes, there is a difference. Here’s how to find out. This exercise won’t take long, but you will come to appreciate those around you whom you love.
You can use a journal, a notebook, or even an index card. You need something to write with and to write on. Allow 5-10 minutes for this exercise.
Write a name at the top of your paper. This should be someone you love. (You can do this with more than one person, too.) Make a list of the reasons you love them. Easy. For example: I appreciate _____ because they:
always treat me with kindness
are strong and hold me up when I’m down
do more than their fair share of work around the house
have my back, etc etc etc
When you are finished, slowly read the list you have written. This will warm your heart. Then, if you feel comfortable, share the list with the person about whom you wrote. They will feel good, too.
This is more challenging. Write about someone you know, but don’t like. Look for their good qualities. Write about them.
I appreciate _______________________ because:
they get things accomplished
they aren’t afraid of taking charge
When you have finished that list, stop and read it to yourself. You might find a new appreciation for that person. If you feel comfortable sharing this list with the person, please do. If not, save it for times when your relationship is not good. It might help you to be strong and see Jesus in them.
Wait! You’re not finished yet! One more thing. This might be the most important part of this exercise.
Write about you.
I appreciate me because:
I keep the house going even when it’s chaotic around here.
I can navigate around town like no one else I know.
Etc Etc Etc.
When you finish your list stop and read your list. Save it. On a bad day, you might realize that you are a good person and that God loves you very much. He gave you these good qualities. “God doesn’t make no junk.” Isn’t that what the poster said? You are a cherished child of God.
I like this exercise—all three parts of it.
I was looking around for prayes of thanksgiving, and I found this one on American Catholic. It’s a prayer from the Catholic Prayer Book compiled by Msgr. Michael Buckley. The title is:
For the Appreciation of Others
We thank you, Father, for the gift of Jesus your Son who
came to our earth and lived in a simple home. We have a greater
appreciation of the value and dignity of the human family because he
loved and was loved within its shelter. Bless us this day; may we grow in love for each other in our family and so give thanks to you who are the maker of all human families and our abiding peace.
In the end, it is all about love!