Lessons from my month of public gratitude

Today marks the end of my month of publicly posting my daily gratitude statuses to Facebook and Twitter. The month has gone by quickly! There are still so many things that I am grateful for that I didn’t get a chance to mention.

Although this is my third year of doing this on Facebook, I still made new discoveries this year about myself and my relationship to gratitude as I observed my progress through this exercise.

The first thing I discovered was that my Facebook friends enjoy me doing this exercise. I had a surprising number of people tell me how excited and happy they were to see me doing this again this year and that they actually look forward to it! Some of these people are ones who join in themselves, but others do not.  I was surprised at how happy my expression of gratitude made other people who were observing, even though they were not the recipients of my gratitude. I have tended to be careful about how much positive I express to others because I have so often been dismissed as being too “Pollyanna-ish,” but this tells me that perhaps there are others who would find benefit in me expressing my positive thoughts more often.

The second thing I discovered was how much the reading of other people’s expressions of gratitude amplified my own sense of gratitude. It was lovely to perform a gratitude practice as part of a community that gave me a chance to rejoice with others’ blessings and have them join in with my own rejoicing. So often people would mention things for which they were grateful, and it would spark gratitude for that same blessing in me just reading about it and being reminded of the presence of that blessing in my own life.

The third thing I discovered is that I function best in a careful balance of freedom and structure. The structure of posting publicly every day with the accountability that brings was a good thing. The self-imposed limit of only mentioning each item once during the course of the month was a challenge because I was constantly having to review the month to make sure I hadn’t already mentioned whatever thing had bubbled to the top of my gratitude list for the day. The limitation of Twitter was especially challenging because of the 140 character limit. I tend toward greater wordiness when describing my gratitudes, and keeping the full essence of my expression while staying in the character limit was often difficult. (Although it is probably a good exercise for me to learn to be more succinct.)

In light of these lessons, I am going to give myself a break from any formal limits or commitments to my public gratitude practice. (I still have my private daily one going.) But I do plan to make a point of publicly expressing my blessings and my gratitude for them more often. And I will continue to look for ways to find community with others who have a similar commitment to gratitude. And I’ll definitely be issuing an invitation for people to join me again next year for my month of gratitude!

To those of you who joined me this year … thank you! You were a marvelous blessing to me for which I am grateful indeed. May you find as much benefit, joy, and transformation in the practice of gratitude as I have found!

A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.

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