Family Relationships

Join other women in the sandwich generation - share ideas and solutions as you learn to nourish family relationships without starving yourself.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The comment by one of our readers about The Gratitude Project, got me thinking. Laneris said, "To my mind appreciation and saying thank you is of high priority in a relationship. You should try show it to people not for the next 10 days but for all your life."

It started me wondering, Why is is so difficult to say thank you? Why do we need to be reminded to be appreciative for a mere 10 days of the year? As Laneris noted, of course it would be relevant to always express your thanks to someone with whom you share something as meaningful as a relationship. It would seem that your good feelings about that person would spill over into your consciousness and make it more likely for you to notice and acknowledge positive behaviors by him or her. Yet the truth is that we often fail to recognize what our significant others do for us. Let's look at some reasons why:

We take things for granted.Humans instinctively pay more attention to threats to their safety than they do to situations of ease and security. We are less likely to notice a supportive behavior so positive acts are often ignored.

We are often focused on ourselves. Galileo may have proved that the earth revolved around the sun but most of us secretly believe that the world itself revolves around us. It is sometimes hard to pull out of that orbit and become aware of the capabilities and needs of other's around us.

We view the giving of thanks as a zero sum game.It may seem that when you are thanking your partner for the generous way he or she treats you, they are less likely to notice what they could appreciate in your behavior. In truth, the expression of gratitude leads to positive effects for both the giver and the receiver.

Any change in behavior is difficult. Building life-long habits takes conscious repetitions. It may be hard to make the commitment to building this new skill, but it is well worth the energy it takes.

Let us hear from you about your reactions to expressing your thanks. Tune in tomorrow for some tips about bringing gratitude into your life. And check out The Gratitude Project at yourself.

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