Isaac Newton developed three laws of motion. The third law states that for every action there is an equal or greater opposite reaction. I have always believed this theory can be applied beyond physics to the actions we take each and every day. For every interaction we have with other people, there will be an equal or greater reaction. For example, your simple action of taking time to read this post fills me with gratitude, and your kind comments cause me to smile.
I attempt to express my gratitude each time I discover kindness in those around me. One of the first days I purposely expressed my appreciation for someone I realized the true impact their reaction had on me. The day I expressed this gratitude was while resting in a hospital bed. On that day, I made a list of teachers who touched my life over the years. I listed those I remembered as going well above and beyond teaching the lessons of not only the classroom but also those of life. Thanks to the internet, I could search for their numbers. I called them all. Some did not remember me; the student who sat quietly and passed through the semesters years ago with little notice. Others recalled me as the one who was always eager to question the theories they were teaching. They all sounded touched and grateful for the call. One voice quivered as I wondered if tears were filling her eyes. Her response implied joy was filling her heart. What began as a way to pass a day in my hospital bed turned in to an experience I will never forget. Please, do not wait until you are alone in a hospital bed to have this amazingly gratifying experience of simply saying thank you and expressing your gratitude to past supporters. Take the time to say it to people who touched your life in years gone by. Find a simple, unexpected way to show them your gratitude and let them know the candle of kindness and knowledge they shared with you still shines on.
When I shop, I write down the name of sales associates who display exemplary service. Often times, managers are contacted with only complaints. Not often enough are these same managers called to receive praise. Service workers make all of our lives a little simpler and a lot calmer when the service they provide goes above and beyond what we expect. Kind words acknowledging gratitude in a simple call or a note to a supervisor can fill a worker with lingering pride and happiness.
Notes expressing praise seem to be a thing of the past. I am not referring to an emailed letter that can be sent out in a matter of seconds (though those are better than nothing at all). Recently, a friend was asking me for ideas on what to get someone that helped her. She was thinking in terms of something small yet meaningful. I suggested a handwritten letter. Complete with a stamp and all….how many times have you had the privilege to smile when a handwritten note shows up in your mail box?
Sir Isaac Newton showed us that every action will cause a reaction. This holiday season, I hope you experience the joy of showing gratitude. When you offer a smile, when you offer a thank you, I hope you become awed at the reaction this sincere thankfulness will cause. Unexpectedly, the warmth may again travel back to you. After all, we are all a simple candle helping to light and warm the world around us.
“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” Buddha