There are elements in the Bible as well as in Universal teachings that communicate the concept of believing and receiving. Those two things, uniquely tied together, open the door for wonderful opportunities and gifts. When combined, they create a dynamic so powerful that magic happens. When one adds a grateful heart to the process - it's magnified even more. Before exploring the power of asking, believing and receiving – let’s take a look at the X factor of gratitude, which many seem to unfortunately to ignore.
Now, this explanation might seem a little too elementary for a mysterious X factor but all we’re really talking about is a simple “thank you”. Not always a "thank you" after the fact, but sometimes when the initial ask is made. This expression of thanks, in advance, acknowledges your absolute belief that what you’ve asked for, will actually be delivered. When? Who knows – and who cares? It’s coming, nonetheless. It's believing in the inevitable that matters.
Even though some of us might be familiar with the process of asking, believing and receiving and none of it is new, we tend to forget. The Secret talked a lot about it but, even they - like most - ignore gratitude in the mix. The Bible communicates the power of gratitude but the Bible is not read by everyone. So, long story short - the power of gratitude is something that eludes most people. Add to that, expressing gratitude in our society, over the last few decades, has faded away to a shadow of its former self. Today, we just need to be reminded of what sincere gratitude looks like.
Whether you’re an common individual, someone in business, perhaps running a nonprofit or if you’re a politician, celebrity or employee – a crash course on gratitude and its benefits can't hurt. In this “quick fix” society of instantaneous communication and gratification, we "love" each other on the fly, take action in a rush and have made reading between the lines a necessity in the advent of 280 character tweets. Everything is way too subtle and easy to misinterpret.
In current society, we say thank you, when handed a gift, in a variety of ways: commonly a non-emotional, quick hug; a robotic thank you; a quick smile and nod but rarely ever an emotional and heartfelt response that people can feel. The reason is most people's hearts are closed. That's how they live. So, expressing gratitude, over the last few decades, has faded into a shadow of its former self. Therefore, let's remind ourselves of what why being grateful is good for us and good for others.
Let me share a story of two little girls. Just imagine that you live in a nice, middle-class neighborhood and your neighbors on either side have little daughters. The one on the south side is 6-years old and is working on something in school in which you have some interest. So, you come home one evening and bring her a little gift – wrapped in a bag (related to her studies). The child opens the gift and pushes it across the table, gets up and walks away. The next day, you bring over another gift home that she should find fascinating – thinking this one will be a winner. You give it to her but she looks it over, drops it on the couch and runs out to see friends playing in the yard. The third day, the last of your planned gifts arrives and you bring it to her house. This time, the 6-year old peeks inside – doesn’t even bother to open it or take it out of the bag and leaves again. Would you ever feel like giving that child another gift?
Now, the little girl who lives on the north side of your house, is a bit younger, she’s 4. Sweet little thing, who you've allowed to pick flowers from your yard from time-to-time and every time she does, she runs in or over to thank you. When her birthday rolls around, you give her a simple card and she gives you back a warm smile and a big hug. When you give her some of your junk jewelry for dress up, she squeals with delight and the first time she wears it, she runs over to your house just to show you how pretty she looks. This little one loved the flowers, the card and the jewelry and it’s apparent. This is a grateful child for which you now can’t do enough.
Do you think we, as adults, are any different than those two little girls in the scheme of life? From God all abundance flows. Or, if you’re secular – you know the Universe is filled with abundance, that could flow to you, too. So, from the giver's perspective - are you the first kind of child or the second? How much are you receiving?
It mystifies me that some people can remain ungrateful and never seeming to appreciate anything in life, ignoring the glories all around them, always expecting more – because nothing is ever enough, and being critical of the their present status. When someone lives without the capacity for gratitude; life is constantly a downer. Conversely, there are those who live life in continual gratitude, appreciating the beauty of nature, the richness of life’s experiences and are surprised and delighted by everything around them. Their lives are amazing and filled with miracles at every turn. Do you relate to either scenario?
Now, gratitude also applies to the business setting. The for-profit companies who appreciate their employees and cherish their customers, demonstrating that fact routinely, see rewards in higher productivity and lower turnover as well as repeat customers and increased business. The nonprofits who know how to sincerely and personally thank donors in meaningful and creative ways also benefit from long-term relationships and increased revenues. Is this beginning to make sense?
So, for a little homework, run out and buy a few thank you cards, the blank ones, where you’re able to write sincere, heartfelt notes inside. Then, you're free to communicate how much you loved someone’s thoughtfulness or gift, when the occassion pops-up. Writing and sending such notes has become a lost art but will, in a very concrete way, be the vehicle that ends up teaching you to express yourself in a more loving way and give an unexpected gift right back to that person who made you happy. The process of writing such notes has another benefit, too. It helps us practice focusing in the moment - with open your heart. Yes, you write these from your heart not your head.
Let the expression of gratitude reintroduce you to the process of truly loving one another, again. It will make you more rich in many ways and make the world a much better place.