Express Gratitude {even for the little things}

Rakas Kesa

After reading The Happiness Project, I was inspired to embark on my own journey to find personal happiness. Each Wednesday I will be posting about my weekly challenge, including both successes and failures. Follow along, and don't be afraid to join in! 

Last week: Zero to Happy 


I'm going to blindly categorise an entire nation and say that Canadians are incredibly polite. We are famous for apologising to inanimate objects when we so rudely bump into them, holding doors open for  anyone entering the building after us (even if that person is still ten meters away), and for saying 'please' and 'thank-you' to an extent that some find irritating.

When it comes to saying 'please' and 'thank-you', I operate at about 95%; there will be times when I ask for the salt by grunting and gesturing, or will be too distracted texting to thank the person that just held the door for me, but for the most part I am excellent at expressing gratitude. Where I fall entirely flat on my face is when it comes to thanking the most important people in my life.

Sometimes I'll come home from work and find that my mother cleaned my kitchen, and I fail to thank her. Even worse, sometimes I get grumpy when I can't find the can opener or if she failed to take out the garbage. Don't send me hate mail; I am well aware of how awful this not only makes me sound, but how awful I actually am sometimes.

Sometimes when my beautiful daughter hands me a glittery painted craft, accompanied by a heart-warming "I love you Maman!", my first instinct will be to reprimand her for getting paint on the table or for not wearing her painting smock. Yup, I'm cementing the "awful human being" persona right now.

The list goes on and on: not acknowledging the wonderful things that Boyfriend does (on a very regular basis) or the photo that Best Friend sent to cheer me up. In no way do I mean to take advantage of the most important people in my life, but at the end of the day I find myself enthusiastically thanking strangers for their simple acts of kindness while at the same time failing to extend the same courtesy to my loved ones.

This whole happiness challenge is very important to me, but this challenge is perhaps the single most important one on my list. I'm not sure that I can actually gauge the effectiveness of my attempt, but I feel like I paid more attention to the things that people were doing for me. I tried to thank each person that sent me a 'happy birthday' or 'congratulations on your new job' message. When I forgot to buy a USB cable with my printer, and my mom went out and got one for me, I made sure to give her a hug and thank her.

There was a giant fail on my part though. Boyfriend got me an amazing birthday present, and while I did kiss him and thank him, I was trying so hard not to cry at his thoughtfulness that he ended up asking me later if I liked it. I absolutely adore it, so my plan next time is to just let the tears flow so that he doesn't have to ask.

This week didn't make me the most grateful person on the planet; I'm still human so I still overlook things from time to time. But now that I've forced myself to pay more attention to the little things, I think it'll be easier for me to continue to be thankful towards loved ones when they do something kind for me. I don't want to be that person that takes advantage of the amazing people around them--not that anyone actually does want that. And I know that if I ever forget, there is a very good chance that one of them will point me back to this post as a reminder!

How do you feel when your actions go unnoticed?

Next week, the challenge is to use the 'one minute rule'--don't put off anything that will take one minute or less to complete. 

"zero to happy"Ley