Showing Appreciation and Gratitude to Those in Your World

Have you ever experienced one of those things that was just kizmet? It was just meant to be?

Walking back to my car after attending a speaking event, I encountered a woman who, as often happens to me, was searching for her car. Hmmm, now where was it that I parked????

I must admit, my first thought upon encountering another female in a fairly dark parking garage was “Thank goodness; this does not look like a person who might accost me!”

And that’s when we get to the good part.

I told my soon-to-be friend exactly what I’d want someone else to tell me! “You cannot walk around a parking garage at 9:30 pm looking for your car. My name is Susie. I’m a normal person and I promise not to hurt you. Please, come get into my car and let me drive you around this parking garage and help you find your car.”

And she did.

During that two-minute drive, we found out that we have more than a few things in common:

  • We are both amazed by the wealth of knowledge offered by Drs. Jon Kabat-Zinn and Elissa Epel regarding mindfulness and brain research
  • We are both huge fans of University of Texas at Dallas’s Center for BrainHealth (I, myself, have no qualms self-identifying as a UTD Center for BrainHealth groupie!)
  • We both love to make connections between new people, ideas, and experiences, typically finding meaning and significance in those relationships, and, as my friend said, love, love, love making mutually beneficial connections between people!”

Since our encounter a few weeks ago, numerous new connections have been established between two individuals who USED to be strangers. My question is, should this be so surprising?

In our large world that is becoming smaller all the time, we interact with others as they enter our realm of experiences. We know some better than others, and some we will never have the pleasure, or displeasure, of ever meeting at all. But, of this I feel sure: At the heart of what I hold as most important, I will find more commonalities with others than not. Whether we speak the same languages, wear the same style of clothing, or practice the same religions, I think most of us love our friends and families and want to do good things in our world.

So, with these thoughts in mind, let’s make an agreement. Let’s ensure that others know how much they are valued and that they make a difference in our lives.

  • Write a letter that says thank you and, as you deliver that note, tell that person how he has changed your life for the better.
  • Tell a co-worker what she does that makes you have a more pleasant experience at work.
  • Tell an educator, policeman, or fireman that you know they are underpaid and underappreciated, but you wish to thank them for making your world a safer and better place.
  • Do a task for someone else so she can take some time for herself. Make sure you let her know that you want to do this for her because of the many ways and many times that she has helped you to feel that you matter.

Showing your appreciation and gratitude has physical, social and psychological benefits for all involved. Greater happiness and resiliency, enhanced relationships, increased levels of compassion, and improved sleep patterns are just a few of the many advantages proven by numerous studies completed over the last ten years or so.

So, the next time a stranger crosses your path, take a chance. I did. And, luckily, I now have a new friend in this world.

Here’s to happiness!

Dr. W.

 

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Photograph by Matthew Smith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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