by Lia Blanchard

Gratitude. Thankfulness. Appreciation. Why do we only think about it in November? Sure, the fall-turning-to-winter season makes us all feel introspective, and when Thanksgiving rolls around, we give a collective country-wide “thanks” for the friends and family who surround the dinner table with us.

But… shouldn’t gratitude be part of our everyday living, or at least more than once a year?

I am proposing we have a “day of appreciation” in May. The warming weather and burgeoning blooms already have us smiling and thinking thankful thoughts; why not put those thoughts into action? Sit in the sun for a moment, let the warmth sink into your skin and ask yourself: how can I pay this moment forward? Who in my life deserves a word of gratitude, or just an acknowledgment of a job well done?

That’s a key concept; it isn’t just who you might “owe” but who might simply be deserving. The act of acknowledgment, just saying, “I see you for who you are, and who you are is beautiful,” is striking in its simplicity. It is heart-warming and in some instances life-changing. You never know when the gift of your words will be given at just the right moment that your recipient most needs to hear them.

Simple ways to acknowledge someone and warm a heart:

  • Thank a child for their artwork and tell her how much it brightens the family kitchen.
  • Tell your quiet neighbor how his roses beautify the street.
  • Tell your parent, parent-figure, or mentor how much you appreciate their advice.
  • That teen you pass on the street? Look him in the eye, smile, and say hello.
  • Remind your harried friend that she’s doing a great job juggling all of her commitments and being a great mom.

They are just words. They may feel awkward at first, but remember, you’re simply stating a fact. The art of appreciation is reflected in your sincerity, and you can’t go wrong if you’re telling the truth.

To who will you pay forward the May sunshine?

Next: More sunshine!