I imagine that it was an optimist of sorts that received an ugly Christmas sweater and decided to throw a party in excitement for what the sweater could bring. Perhaps it was an expression of gratitude for receiving something that may not have been exactly wanted or expected in the moment, but still could be of worth and utilized over time. In taking a moment to consider what possible good that could come from the gift, a theme party tradition was born that some may call unnecessary and superfluous but yet has brought joy and entertainment to anyone who may may have been given a similar Christmas sweater.
How many times have we received something we are not immediately thankful for? It may be a gift similar to an ugly sweater in which there was no sociable way to express our existing aversion. It may also be feedback on our job performance that took us by surprise or that we felt was not genuine or warranted. It could regrettable be an unprompted life experience that we deem more as a hardship than having any long term value. Whatever it may be, when we inevitably receive such things we need to learn to be gracious in acceptance, grateful in the moment, and consider the benefits. We need to be determined in our appreciation, as even the smallest of things could enhance our lives more than initially thought.
Being thankful for things we may not want may seem easier said than done, but when reflective on the following it may help increase appreciation for all types of things we’ve been given
1.Understand the intent. Most people give from the heart and want to offer earnest endeavors. Seeking to understand how someone views the contribution itself may offer a different vantage point for genuine appreciation.
2.Be gracious in acceptance. Be poised and retain your dignity despite what you may be feeling. Having an understanding of your emotions and having the ability to control them, will help grow your relationships for the better.
3. Verbally express gratitude. The truth is we don’t say thank you enough. Our appreciation needs to be conveyed both to the individual to acknowledge the action or behavior and as an affirmation for us individually so that we internalize that we have been given something. If we do not express gratitude, why should we expect any future gestures, especially ones of good intent.
4. Give it mileage. We may not be able to change what we’ve been given but just as the flavor of cheese can improve over time, the bigger picture can reveal itself in positive ways that may influence our change in attitude. With the simple acceptance of what we’ve received and directing our attention on how best to utilize function and purpose our lives may be bettered overtime.
5. Recognize the contribution. In hindsight, be reflective on what you personally gained from the windfall and how may it have impacted your life for the better. Sometimes it may be stronger relationships, personal growth, or just a learning opportunity. However there is always a reason to be thankful. Recognition is part of the antidote for increased appreciation and with increased appreciation we will be happier and more content with life itself.
By having a positive approach and an expectant return from the variety of things we receive, our attitudes of gratitude will develop despite our initial impressions. Being more purposeful in our gratefulness, can help us to see value in something we may not have initially. Ironically the ugly Christmas sweater has become a sought after item that people will buy for themselves rather than wait to be given – the value was realized and attitudes changed. Whatever we receive whether it’s feedback, an added project at work or even acceptance of something we may not like, seek to find the positives and we may discover the possibilities we didn’t know existed.