In the last post, I discussed how gratitude can make life less overwhelming and stressful by creating a comfortable space in the present moment, when typically we might prefer to run away from into the past or the future.
The kicker that really brings it home is when you're able to share these moments of appreciation with someone else, to build the connection to the person and the experience.
"I'm really grateful for your willingness to help."
"I so appreciate your taking to meet today, it means a lot to me."
"I'm really glad we were able to do this, I know it's not always easy."
These involve stepping outside yourself, getting out of your head and getting into the moment. It involves thinking about the other person in the moment, what they bring, what they give.
It involves letting go of what "should be" about the moment or experience and appreciates what is there.
People, sadly, have gotten used to going through most days not being seen and not being appreciated. But just because we've gotten used to it, doesn't mean it's okay. When you take the time to see them, to appreciate an effort, a spirit, an attempt or good intention, it is a gift. It is that rare and valuable human kindness.
Getting in the habit of noticing others' efforts and intentions, weaving these moments into your daily interactions takes intentional practice, but it's worth it. When you bring kind gratitude into your relationships, it helps two-fold. The gift of gifts is in the giving, giving with good intention feels good. It's incredibly rewarding to be able to make someone else smile and feel appreciated. In ongoing relationships, it can become the norm, with the other person returning the kindness, though that should never be the expectation (giving only to get always ends badly).
Let go of what "should be" and of how you wanted things to go. Let go of the worries about looking stupid or awkward. Let go of worries about the next week, month, and year when you're with someone. Instead, sit back, look around. Look at what has been given, whether it's your first choice or not, because it still matters. Moments of connecting matter, moments of real heartfelt gratitude matter.