Gratitude Beyond Journals, Charity, and Volunteering


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  • Thanksgiving Holiday
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How to be More Grateful in Your Life?

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, in the month of November, I mainly try to focus on trying to be more grateful and increase awareness about Gratitude.

I recently ran a discussion group on Gratitude. I asked women to share their thoughts. “How do you demonstrate being grateful in your life?”

One of the women in the group said “I already practice gratitude daily.”

“How do you do it?” I asked her

“I write a daily journal of things that I am grateful for.” She said.

“What do you do with that next?” I kept asking and trying to understand the next layer. Keeping gratitude journals help the person that writes it, but does make your gracious unless it is expressed or action oriented.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“Give me an example on one of the things on your list.” I wanted to know.

She had a mixed list of people in her life that she is grateful for: her husband, her kids, her friends…the list went on.

I asked her “How do you show your gratitude or let them know, especially to your friends?” She was dumb founded. A bit puzzled by my question. I drilled further…

  • “Do you write them a note? “
  • “Do you verbalize it?”
  • “Do you organize a get together with your friends?”
  • “Are you available for them emotionally, physically, or by just being there?”
  • “Are you responsive to their needs?”
  • “In essence what do you do to show your gratitude to your friends?”

In other words, there is so much more to gratitude than just internalizing it.

Gratitude needs to be expressed and action oriented.

I thought of three main traits that make us gracious. These are when you:

  • Embrace people in good faith into your life
  • Appreciate what you have and your personal freedoms
  • Reciprocate and recognize when people are generous with you

Since I moved to San Diego, over twenty years ago, I realized that the Southern California community is extremely different than the east coast or other places I lived in. Although there are scattered pockets of generous and gracious people, but I have encountered a high concentration of people who are moochers and ingrate.

Many people are self-centered and wrapped up in their own lives. Some people just feel entitled, receiving constantly gestures of kindness without ever thinking ever to reciprocate or just even sending a small note of acknowledgment. Some people think that they can hide and get away with that. While others think that they are the only one with busy life. Worse yet I also hear some say

“I’m just not good in [organizing, entertaining, doing…]”

Wake up moochers and ingrates! There are many ways to reciprocate and appreciate your friends and family.

By you are saying “I’m not good at…” or “I do not have time…”, you are saying that the other person is not a priority and you do not care enough. Find a different way to show appreciation and reciprocate.

Without reciprocation, there is no continuity!

People eventually exclude you from their circles and move on.

Lastly, being grateful and generous is not about writing a check to a charity.  It is not about the “big” things you do for the community or the world.

It starts with small gestures of kindness in your personal life with your friends and family.

Start this holiday season with:

1.     Sending a gratitude card to someone special in your life

2.     Asking friends and family “how can I help you?”

3.     Express it verbally “Thanks you for [something specific.”]

4.     Organize a get together every couple months and include new and old friends

5.     Treat a friend to a lunch or dinner

6.     Buy something meaningful and valuable to say “Thank You!”


bottom line

People who are genuinely grateful build trust and have meaningful relationships with their friends and family.    


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