This is the first official day of the Gratitude Challenge – yesterday was about preparation and now you’re getting your first real task: write a note to someone you appreciate.
Why Write a Note? Can’t I Just Tell Them?
You can, and you should tell people you care for that you care for them and appreciate them – but this is another kind of task. When we talk we often don’t have the chance to say everything we want – we forget something, we get clumsy, or the other person interrupts us and it doesn’t come out the way we’d like.
Writing a note lets you clarify your emotions and gratitude, it gives you the time to think about it and to say everything you want. This task isn’t about style, it’s not about creating several drafts and planning, but it will make you think more clearly about why exactly you appreciate the person you’re writing the note to.
This isn’t an easy task. When you begin writing your note, you’ll probably come up with so many things to say that you won’t know where to start, and it will probably be really emotional. It should, it’s OK, you’re expressing your appreciation for someone who means a lot to you and you’ve finally found a moment to do it, to think of all the ways this person is important in your life.
The form… well, an email or another kind of electronic message is OK, but when was the last time you wrote a letter – or anything else? You know, wrote, as in handwriting (don’t count grocery lists). Yeah, most of us can’t remember either. Imagine what it would feel like if you got a real letter from someone who means a lot to you saying how much they appreciate you.
That’s what you’re doing now – you’re making at least two people happy: you and the person you’re writing the note to.
How to Do It
There’s really no right and wrong way to write a gratitude note – just think of how much that person means to you. Start the note, or the letter, with “Hey, you…” and the words will come.
Just, you know… don’t hold back. We often think that people know how much they mean to us, because we often say “thank you” or because we are receiving of their kindness. To a certain level, they probably do, but it’s a whole different story when you actually tell them, when they get an actual note from you, with examples of specific situations when they have touched you.
So don’t hold back. Don’t assume that it’s understood – and even if it is, write it anyway. “Hey mom, I really appreciate everything you’ve done for me”. Compare that to: “Hey mom, I want to let you know how much I appreciate the breakfasts you made for me before school, how hard you worked for me to be able to have that doll for Christmas when I was 7, how much you’ve tried to protect me…”
Be specific. You’d much rather receive the second note, so do that for your mom. Or your friend. Or your spouse. Let them know.
First Day Journaling
You didn’t think that we’ll let you forget about your gratitude journal, did you?
After you write the note, open your journal and write at least three things you’re grateful for today. The note and the way it made you feel will probably be one of them 🙂 but don’t let us influence you, just write three things that made your day today, things you’ve noticed, things that happened or didn’t happen.
Until tomorrow 🙂