Remember back in the nineties when books about gratitude were all the rage? We were encouraged to be grateful every day for something. Even—and maybe especially—something small (the smell of the garden, a bubble bath, a fresh strawberry, a good cup of coffee, etc). Then we were reminded to think of the people and events around us for which we were grateful. On bad days, this might be more difficult, but for just about all of us, there is definitely someone out there in whose light we can revel for a few grateful moments.
The philosophy behind this practice was that if we did that small bit of work every day then we would slowly, inevitably, shift the colours of our lives until that lovely rosy hue would outshine the dark. I never ended up reading the bestselling books, but I certainly listened rapt as those who did expounded on the theory. It made sense. And I started to become aware of my own gratitude and how deeply I felt it and how, in many ways, gratitude was one of the most consistently achievable feelings of “good” that I could attain. Even on a really shitty day.
I am truly grateful that gratitude has been a consistent theme on this blog and that our readers so quickly and readily jump on the “gratitude bandwagon” whenever we bring it up. So I hope you don’t mind if I revisit it one more time??? I want to share a small experience with you and then see where we land afterward:
For my birthday dinner, we went to an amazing little restaurant called Keriwa Café. It is a cozy little place, the kind that makes you feel very much like you’ve walked into a (stylish) friend’s farmhouse kitchen. The air is perfumed like a warm smokehouse and you picture not a bland city alley outside its kitchen doors, but a vast farmland, filled with all things good and clean and delicious. The server was a charming guy who took amazing care of our every need, and who made us feel like we were already on comfortable terms—maybe like he was the friend of a friend (ie not overly-familiar, but also not cold and standoffish). The food was divine: earthy and sophisticated in equal measure, sublime combinations of herbs and sauces, and the absolute truth of flavour that comes from the freshest and best quality ingredients. We were in raptures with every single mouthful, from the homemade sourdough bread at the start (washed down with the loveliest signature cocktails) to the gift of the airiest truffle I’ve ever eaten at the end. Now I’m telling you all this not to try and sell my skills as a restaurant reviewer (although, for me, that wouldn’t be the worst job!), but to underscore my point about gratitude.
As we were eating, we shared our sentiments with our server at every course. We mmmed and ahhhed and made sure he knew that we thought everything was delicious and perfect. We weren’t ridiculously effusive, but consistently grateful. And he was … surprised! Not because we found the food wonderful—this restaurant is run by one of the best new chefs in the city—but because we were sharing our love. On the drive home afterward, Stefanie expressed her own sense of gratitude that we had taught her how important it is to communicate gratitude if one truly feels it. She has been able to see just how deeply it affects people, while also realizing—through the sincere surprise at the restaurant—that this means it is maybe all too rarely communicated. She reminded me again that, while she considers herself a fervent foodie, she maybe wouldn’t have had the courage to rave. She is “too shy”. But this experience—and others like it over her growing years—has taught her to keep trying to work at sharing her gratitude. Because it literally makes everyone feel good.
So, if we’re going to revisit this theme again, here’s what I’d love to hear from you:
1. Are you too shy to share your gratitude with strangers?
2. If you do share your gratitude, what is the response?
3. And, how do you feel when people express gratitude toward you?
Deb: Well, you know me. Not too shy about anything. I share my gratitude easily and frequently. I also share my gratitude silently in the morning and the evening for a day lived and a day woken up to. When I share my gratitude I am ALWAYS moved by people’s reactions. Always. Some are shy about it, some are gobsmacked by it, but they are always grateful for it. When people express gratitude towards me ... well ... hmmmnnn .... I am getting better. Much better. I am starting to be able to look people in the eye and say how happy and grateful I am for their gratitude. But that one remains the toughest. As I have said in other posts, I love to be the bestower, not so much the bestowed upon. But I am getting better. It is something I have worked really hard on. Grace is the word I use when someone expresses their gratitude to me. Be graceful, I tell myself. And it is working for me.