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“But hers, as you will see, is also a story of enormous discipline, devotion and ingenuity. What Tiffanie creates are technically complex and detailed works of art.” This was said by Lisa Congdon of Tiffanie Turner, author of The Fine Art of Paper Flowers. Indeed, that’s true of anything that you do well. Thanksgiving is no different. If you want it to go beyond mere platitudes and a me-focus, you must cultivate the fine art of Thanksgiving.
The Fine Art of Thanksgiving: From the Heart
“Thank you.” “I appreciate you.” “You didn’t have to. It means so much to me/us.” Fine words, but do you say them from the heart? Or, do you say them because you should, it’s expected and/or as a knee jerk reaction?
Words are easy to say, especially when we have been acculturated to say the right words at the right time. However, the fine art of thanksgiving demands more of you. It demands that you pause and truly appreciate what or who is before you. Then, your thank you will be from the heart.
Even tangible gifts of appreciation can be easy. Yes. There are occasions when you take your time and think deeply about the person. You consider the best way to express your gratitude to them; what would most befit them. Then, it is from the heart. However, there are those times when it is a case of get them something, anything. Let me get this over and be done with it. That comes appreciation comes from a sense of duty. Even when duty is involved, pause and let your thankfulness be from the heart.
Appreciation is key. Appreciation requires noticing. In our last blog post we talked of noticing things and people in your life for which to be thankful. This is noticing the doer or giver and the act itself as you give your thanks. This is heart-felt gratitude.
The next time you’re ready to express your gratitude, be sure that you are exercising the fine art of thanksgiving. Express it with true appreciation that comes from the heart.
The Fine Art of Thanksgiving: Beyond You
Does it matter whether or not you feel good when you thank someone? What happens if after you have expressed your gratitude the reaction is such that it leaves you feeling unfulfilled?
It’s great when you receive some sense of satisfaction and happiness when others receive your appreciation graciously. Yet, that is not the reason for thanksgiving. Why? Because it is you giving recognition for what you received that impacted you without expecting anything in return.
There are times when you are not impacted significantly, but you understand the kind intention of the giver or speaker. You still give thanks. It is not always about you.
Moreover, at this time of the year, recognize the care that goes into an invitation given to you to share a meal. Show up with good grace and appreciate the efforts expended on your behalf. No complaining. Let it be about them and not about you.
The fine art of thanksgiving goes beyond you to focus on the source of your appreciation. Hence, there are no strings attached.
The Fine Art of Thanksgiving: To the Invisible
No strings attached. Appreciate those who are in the limelight and those who are regularly before you. In addition, notice and express thanksgiving to those who are invisible to many. At your workplace, in hotels, in restaurants—so many places—there are those who work behind the scenes.
As you move around the office or various places in your travels, you may encounter the cleaner or the janitor. On the other hand, you may not. Moreover, there are other types of support staff, including clerical and administrative. These are people you see and don’t really see. There are some you don’t see at all because they work behind the scenes. So many people work day in and day out, night in and night out to make your life more comfortable. They help you succeed.
Recognize them. Notice them. Express your gratitude to them verbally and in tangible ways.
The invisible ones may also be in your family circle. Sometimes, your family comes at the bottom of the list of heart-felt thank you’s. This is not because you are not grateful. Sometimes it is because of busyness. At other times you assume that they know you are aware of their contributions and are grateful. It’s better to say it.
Recognition goes a long way to people’s well being. Notice all people. Extend your appreciation.
Take your thanksgiving up a notch. Pause. Notice. Focus on others. Recognize and celebrate the invisible ones. Then, your thanksgiving will be exquisite, a joy to behold and enjoy. You will be exercising the art of fine thanksgiving.
What are the things for which and people for whom you are thankful? How are you practicing the fine art of thanksgiving?
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