"Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other."
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and this is a season of thankfulness and a reminder of being grateful for the things we have in our lives, like family, friends, or food. But are thankfulness and gratitude the same thing? It may surprise you, but it turns out that they are not.
The Oxford dictionary defines the word thankful as "pleased and relieved." Both of those are great feelings. On the other hand, the definition of the word grateful is "showing an appreciation of kindness." So, this is where the difference lies; being thankful is a feeling, and being grateful is an action.
It's easy for us to look around the Thanksgiving dinner table and say that we are thankful for our family, friends, and everything else that we are blessed with. However, gratitude goes much deeper than this. It is a state of being where you feel a sense of appreciation that comes from deep within.
Gratitude is more than just the feeling of thankfulness. Gratitude requires us to stay alert of the role of others in our lives. It is different from the fleeting nature of the act of a mere 'thank you' or feeling thankful one day of the year. Through gratitude, we get to make sense of our lives and learn to credit others with the appreciation they deserve.
As we head into that special time in November, think about how you can practice gratitude through action. Maybe it will be spending quality time with your family and being truly present, helping those in need, or supporting your community.
Living in Hawaii, I have a lot to be grateful for, especially the people around me. And, in the spirit of gratitude, I would like to give credit to one organization that helps our community and invite you to support them as well.
I have been involved with Project Hawaii, Inc. for many years, and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
Project Hawaii is an award-winning volunteer-staffed nonprofit organization caring for the needs of our island's homeless children. However, this is not your typical charity.
What makes Project Hawaii unique is that they are not just a feeding program or a hand-out. They actually have developed programs that have shown success. Their goal is to create the stability and continuity that the child needs to find their own self-worth. The programs are structured to help the children gain self-esteem and life skills to successfully enter society as contributing members, and it works!
Since 2003, they have successfully helped over 2,000 homeless children escape their cycle of poverty. From 2003-2006 the organization created solutions to help the small encampment of 76 children born 3rd generation into homelessness escape their cycle. Each family was able to obtain a structured housing situation, secure employment, or return to school. As of today, these children are all still housed; they are having children of their own who will never know the crisis of homelessness.
One of my favorite events is called Secret Santa, which gives me the opportunity to provide the children I sponsor just what they want for Christmas! This is not your typical children's wish list; many of these kids need essentials, like a sleeping bag, a pillow, a jacket, or a warm blanket - believe me, your heart will be touched, and your spirit ignited to help!
Giving back and appreciating those around us is the most significant and fulfilling expression of gratitude, and it will come back to you exponentially from all those whose hearts you have touched. Make it your daily practice, and amazing things will happen.
"He who thanks but with the lips thanks but in part; the full, the true Thanksgiving comes from the heart."
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