Thank you. Two simple words that mean so much. A small phrase that takes such a short time to say but we are often too busy to utter. It’s even been condensed to one word, “Thanks”, so it takes up less of our time.

The sentiment has seemingly been stripped of its meaning. When we do use it, it’s sometimes just out of courtesy or politeness without truly understanding what we are saying.

Has being thankful just become rote or is it something we actually contemplate each time it is said? After a busy day, do we arrive home starved and say a rushed prayer before our meal, less focused on who’s Hand it’s from than on getting that first bite into our mouths?

I fear our concept of thankfulness has become skewed, that we feel showing appreciation is for the benefit of the one being thanked. But, the purpose of being grateful is to adjust our view of ourselves and help us to view our existence in the proper perspective.

Being thankful is a life altering experience. Here are 5 ways you benefit from being thankful:

1. It takes the focus off of you. When you take the time to give your attention to some one else, you focus on their efforts, not what you have done. It’s a selfless act of acknowledgement of others and how they have blessed your life. Thank God everyday.

2. It helps you recognize where you came from. We all started in the same place as helpless balls of mush incapable of doing anything for ourselves. It’s humbling to look back on your life and see all of the mistakes you have made, but it’s encouraging to take the time to contemplate those that helped you along the way. Thank your family every day.

3. It gives credit where credit is due. When we recognize the guidance we’ve received in our lives it helps us to realize that much of what we do could not be done without the support of others. Thank a teacher everyday.

4. It motivates us to serve others. Understanding our reliance on others and the need for their assistance helps bring to mind the people in our lives that need guidance, aid, and love from us. Taking the time to be thankful will make service a natural part of your life because it helps you understand how much we all need each other. Thank a friend everyday.

5. It forces you to admit you can’t do everything yourself. Whether it’s your spouse, employer, client, teacher, or God, gratitude focuses our hearts on our complete dependence on others. Despite our abilities, we can’t accomplish anything without help. The superstar wide receiver would never score a touchdown without a quarterback to throw him the ball. Thank a mentor every day.

Say, “Thank you” often and say it from the heart. Then go out and bless others in the ways you have been blessed.

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