In the book, play, and movie “The Wizard of Oz”, a little girl is lost and tries to find her way home. The story is about a girl caught up in a tornado who is blown into a strange and fanciful land where lions are cowardly, men are made of tin and bolts, a scarecrow comes to life, and a wicked witch thwarts her every attempt. The story ends as the young girl realizes that she had the magic secret inside her all the time – a five word sentence, “There’s no place like home.”
How wonderful would it be if we could create miracles just by saying a word or two? What a glorious thing if we could improve someone’s day just by saying a sentence! At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Albert Schweitzer once said that “Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” What makes another person’s flame burn brighter as well as our own is our expressing gratitude aloud.
In writing for Psychology Todat several years ago, Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne explained: “We all like being thanked. It’s a great feeling to have someone, especially someone who doesn’t stand to gain, tell us that we made a difference in their lives. In the past few weeks, I’ve had the good fortune of receiving some heartfelt thank you notes from students, pausing as they got ready to leave campus for the summer, or perhaps for good, to take a moment and let me know that something I said or did proved helpful to them. I’ve also had the good fortune of having favors done for me by people who went out of their way to help me solve a problem, fix something, or in fortunately only one case- return a lost cellphone. Being thanked and having reason to thank others are two sides of the same gratefulness coin. Both exemplify the positive in human behavior and provide us with a positive charge that boosts our emotional balance.”
Gratitude is a two-way street. Researchers have scientific proof that habitually focusing on and appreciating the positive aspects of life is related to a generally higher level of psychological well-being and a lower risk of certain forms of psychopathology. People who express gratitude tend to be free from undue amounts of stress and depression, have higher I.Q. levels, and are more willing to support others.
“Thank you” can be a two-word miracle that costs nothing to express and share. Marelisa Fabrega agrees. “Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present.”
No one has everything they want or perhaps even everything they feel they need. We all, however, have something for which we can be grateful. Share that thankfulness. William Arthur War once said “feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a Christmas present and not giving it.” Make today into a miracle by telling someone a simple “Thank you.”