Photo courtesy: Zoe Quiney

Photo courtesy: Zoe Quiney

It’s Thanksgiving today and I’ve read dozens of articles about gratitude and ways to be thankful. Gratitude allows us to receive all that comes our way with a state of acceptance and grace. Yet Thanksgiving doesn’t begin and end there. It seems that the “giving” part of Thanksgiving gets lost in the holiday sales racks.

But gratitude and giving go hand in hand.

Years ago, I got annoyed at a girl in my exercise class—for absolutely no reason at all. I didn’t want to feel irritated, but there it was—this cloying feeling that I carried. Then I remembered this valuable message:

 If you feel upset at someone—do something kind for them.

It could be anything at all—something simple like smile at them or hold the door open for them. So I decided I would find something nice to do for this girl. And guess what? It totally worked! The feeling completely left me, and I no longer had that feeling of annoyance. It amazed me what giving can do!

Imagine if we could do this simple act of kindness for our loved ones today—you know, the ones who “annoy” us (not that you have anyone like that, of course!) Maybe you’ve got an aunt who thinks she knows everything that’s best for you, or a relative who complains about everything regardless of how perfect it is. Whatever it is, try turning it around by doing something kind just for them, instead of getting lost in the drama and feeling lousy about being around them.

It’s not about their response to your act of giving either. Notice the shift inside yourself.

Sometimes you don’t realize how much you love someone until you give to them.

My husband recently had minor surgery on his knee due to a sports injury. Let me tell you that no surgery or procedure is minor. The minute the needle heads your way, your body senses an invasion. This surgery was not minor either, and my husband needs more care than he ever needed in our nearly 15 years of marriage. It is hard for him to accept that he needs the help. But for me? Well, I’ve never loved him more. I LOVE being able to show him how much he means to me by tending to his needs.

This year, I feel eternally grateful that he went through the procedure and that he’s on the mend. I feel deep gratitude for every labored step that he takes that brings him closer to full recovery. And I feel complete gratitude to be in a position where I can give to him unconditionally and show him how much I value him—not through gifts or anything tangible, but rather through the gift of time.

This season, as we head into Thanksgiving feasts, Black Friday deals, and gift-giving oblivion, remember the greatest gift of all may simply be your presence, spending time with people to show them you love them.

Happy day to everyone everywhere. Whether it is “Thanksgiving” in your part of the world or not, each day holds an opportunity to choose a state of giving and gratitude.

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