Updated: Dec 11, 2020
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 - that dynamic is magnified even more. Before exploring the power of asking, believing and receiving – let’s take a look at closer look at gratitude, the X factor, the element many seem 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 that concept is not new, we still could stand to be reminded. The Secret talked a lot about that process but even they - like most - ignored gratitude in the mix. The Bible communicates the power of gratitude but not everyone reads the Bible. So, long story short - the power of gratitude eludes most and is forgotten by the balance. Add to that, I don't believe people have any concept of sincere gratitude looks like.
Whether you’re an individual, a business person, run a nonprofit or if you’re a politician, celebrity or employee – a crash course on gratitude and its benefits can't hurt. In this "instant gratification" society, we "love" each other on the fly, with a quick heart tweet and any message routinely communicated has made reading between the lines essential in the advent of 280 character messages. Depth and sincerity is lost in a trade-off for quick and fast.
In society today, we express our gratitude for a gift we receive 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 that today we move so quickly, we don't have time to live in the moment, enjoy what's in front of us or live with an open heart. Expressing sincere gratitude is a lost art. So, here's a reminder that might serve as a wake-up call.
This is a story of two little girls. So, try to imagine that you live in a nice, middle-class neighborhood and your neighbors on either side have young 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 with a gift, related to her studies, wrapped in a bag. The child opens the gift, pushes it across the table, gets up and walks away. The next day, you bring over another gift you believe she'd find fascinating. You give it to her but, again, she looks it over, drops it on the couch and runs out to play with her friends. 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 the gift or take it out of the bag and leaves again. How likely are you to ever give 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 present her with 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? Whether you believe abundance flows from God or the Universe, more could flow to you if you believed it was even possible and lived more in a state of gratitude. From a giver's perspective - which child's life sounds more like you? Are you really posed to receive?
It mystifies me that some people can remain ungrateful and never appreciate anything in life. They ignore the glories all around them and always expect more – because nothing is ever quite enough. If you are always critical of your present status and live without the capacity for gratitude; life is constantly a disappointment. When a person lives like that, they construct barriers that block the flow of abundance that is rightfully theirs. 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 that comes their way. They are open to everything wonderful that could flow their way. And, guess what - their lives are amazing and filled with miracles at every turn. Which are you?
Gratitude can fuel abundance within the business setting, too. For-profit companies who appreciate their employees, cherish their customers and demonstrate appreciation routinely, see their productivity increase and their turnover rate decrease. They realize more repeat customers and business improves. Nonprofits can apply this concept, too. Unfortunately too few know how to sincerely and personally thank donors in meaningful and creative ways. They send computer generated thank you notes, only contact donors when they need more money and rarely take the time to cultivate relationships that could result in nurturing their major donor base. Is this beginning to make sense?
So, here's a little homework as we go right back to the basics. Purchase a few thank you notes, the blank ones, where you can write something sincere and heartfelt inside. Then, communicate in writing the next time someone does you a favor or gives you some type of a gift. Writing and sending such notes is an anomaly today, so you'll surely stand-out. More importantly it helps you give an unexpected gift right back to that person who did something nice for you. This is an exercise in focusing in the moment, opening your heart and expressing gratude sincerely. Yes, these thank you notes are written from your heart not your head.
You'll see. Gratitude, before and after, will pay-off in your life in many ways. A little appreciation will also make the world a much better place.