• Jan-Paul Van Dessel

Feeling Grateful, Showing Gratitude

I am struck by how often in times of personal difficulty, such as experiencing stress or sadness that we can isolate ourselves from others and go deep within ourselves. We might appear as withdrawn, quiet and distant.

This is quite a natural process, and in it's own way it is a form of self-care. Where it can become less useful is when we get stuck in that place and we can become disconnected from others and the world around us. What has this got to do with feeling grateful and showing gratitude you might ask?

It can really help in these moments to consider something in our past or present that we are grateful for, something that brought or brings positivity into our life and that feels joyous to receive. It could be a gesture that you remember big or small, a physical item like a gift or even a person who is or was part of your life. Feel Grateful for what this has added to your life, and explore what it is that makes that so for you.

A next step is to act on that feeling and Show Gratitude. This helps you turn that feeling into an action, an action that connects you with the source, the person or the place you received from. That could be as demonstrative as sending a text, making a call or sending a card to the person or simply saying out loud 'Thank You' if you can't really specify who or what to offer that to.

Doing this, even when we are not in difficulty is a great bit of self-care and who knows, the timing might just be perfect for the person you acknowledge. I know that the idea for this blog entry was generated from my feeling last night, just as I started to drift asleep, of deep gratitude for the fantastic teaching, mentorship and guidance I received in my Counselling training eight years ago from three amazing people. Thank you Sandra Grieve, Lucia Berdondini and Jane Davidson. Your skill, creativity, honesty and professionalism are gifts that are still giving to me.

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