What’s the Difference Between saying Thank You and Being Thankful?

by | Dec 24, 2019 | Observations, Peter's Voice

Sometimes, I’ll say “Thank You,” and not really mean it. I’ll smile and politely say the words, but the feeling isn’t there.

It’s easy to cast ‘thank you’s’ out into the world, but there is a massive difference between just saying the words and a genuinely thankful feeling.

When you say the words, it can feel empty. You could replace thank you with another phrase, and it wouldn’t make a difference. We’re told about the benefits of an ‘attitude of gratitude’ and how we should be thankful for all we have, even if we don’t have what we want.

After all, how can you be truly thankful when you are facing so many challenges?

One of the many things I’m thankful for is our junkyard dog. He’s a funny-looking curmudgeon who doesn’t give affection easily.

We have to trick him into sitting with us on the couch. You’d never mistake him for one of those dogs that leaps for joy when you walk in the door. We’re lucky if he looks up from his pillow to acknowledge our presence.

But we love him nonetheless, and I’m grateful for all the lessons he’s taught me.

When I sit quietly with him and look into his soft brown eyes, I’m truly thankful. I don’t feel a need to say ‘thank you.’ Instead, I feel the gratitude throughout my whole body. Words aren’t required.

This holiday season, take time to think about all the things you sincerely appreciate. Pay close attention to the feelings you have when you think about them.

Where are the feelings located: In your heart? In your head? When you focus on the things you’re thankful for, can you recall the feelings? Spend some time with yourself to check-in.

If there are areas in your life where you are facing challenges, see if you can bring those feelings of thankfulness to your thoughts about the difficulties. Shift your thinking from a problem to overcome, to a message you are sending yourself. A message that will help you understand more about the situation: be open.

Since there is no benefit in shooting the messenger, try accepting the message and being thankful for the opportunity to hear it and then begin to address it.

All of life is a gift. Every step along the way has significance. Feeling genuinely thankful helps us to accept and be open to understanding its meaning.

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