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Lara Patangan underscores the importance of expressing our gratitude, rather than simply meditating on it for ourselves.

I love pretty stationery—especially the kind where my name is printed in scrolly pastel font that makes me look like I hold a fancy title in a foreign land where I live in a castle with 100 obedient cats. I know it’s hard to believe an ordinary name on card stock can conjure all that. Yet a blank notecard isn’t limited by possibility, only its weighty perimeter.   

Gratitude is kind of like the stationery we write thank-you notes on. It’s limitless in the places it can go. There have been countless studies that extoll the merits of gratitude. It has the power to not only reshape our brains but almost every aspect related to a meaningful life. 

Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. (Harvard Healthbeat)


We hear so much about gratitude in the month of November. We even see the word written in its own scrolly font as if it too ruled over its own castle. It’s a frilly word and we are given all kinds of suggestions of ways to harvest it on our lives presuming that the sole reason of growing it is to keep it for ourselves. We are told to stockpile it, meditate on it, and use it to make our lives more fulfilling.  




Yet like so many positive messages that get twisted into an emphasis on self instead of others, we often forget how important it is to share gratitude. It means way more when it’s given away than when we keep it for ourselves. Gratitude gives life meaning, grows relationships, and sustains us during the times between the hardships and the harvest. So often we are encouraged to feel gratitude because it makes us feel better, happier, and healthier. While most of our gratitude originates from those who we are closest to, it’s often these same people who we neglect to share our appreciation. Instead of giving gratitude to the people we love we sometimes take them for granted instead.  

Sometimes the words I’m most desperate to hear aren’t "I love you," or "I’m sorry," or even "you look like a beautiful princess." It’s "thank you." Thank you means you see me. It means you feel my care for you. It suggests that I’ve made life better. It makes me feel like I did something which matters and that matters more to me than all the fancy castles or loopy letters that curve around the prettiest stationery.  


Click to tweet:
Gratitude means way more when it’s given away than when we keep it for ourselves. #CatholicMom


The plain but hardworking words thank you may be the best prayer we can ever say. In Ephesians 1:16 it reads “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” What if we were ceaseless in sharing gratitude? Can you imagine if people actually knew how much they were loved and appreciated how the world might change?  

The exponential kindness of expressed gratitude is way more satisfying than the morsels we get from merely feeling it. Say thank you to everyone you can and see how just how much more gratitude you have to give away. Don’t save it for the fancy stationery or the finery on Thanksgiving Day. Get it out now and throw it like it’s confetti from the top of a sky-covered castle. What joy it will be to see where it lands.   



Copyright 2023 Lara Patangan
Images: Canva