The exercise started with me taking out a notebook and literally writing down each name that came to mind. I think I started with about 15-20. Then as things happened and people did nice things, etc. I added more to the list. At the end, I told 30 people what I was grateful for from them. The people ranged from family, to childhood friends, to acquaintances, to Haley's teacher and my children's long-time day care provider.
The most fascinating thing about it was that the people I knew the best (sisters, long-time friends, etc) were the ones that seemed most surprised or appreciative of my feelings. I guess I assume that those who know me best know how I feel about them, but obviously that is not true. This was definitely a feel good challenge for the month, especially since my strength is not sharing my feelings. It was very good to get out of my comfort zone in that regard. And challenge or not, this is something I would recommend (even in a smaller scale) that everybody does...
Josh is right. I was the first person he thanked and it hit me by surprise...even though I knew the challenge was starting that day. There is something about hearing the words said aloud (not just in an email or a card, but face to face) that makes it get right to you. I felt appreciated and loved and I loved that I would be showing gratitude this month.
The biggest thing that I learned is that I am naturally grateful and generally don't take things for granted. I have learned to love the moment you are in and not just yearn for the next. This has come to me through life lessons, some of which were not fun to learn. I was on a run one day and was thankful for my legs. I never want to be someone who would lose something and wish i loved it while I had it. I can run, dance, chase, walk and move because of my legs.
I, too, found it surprising that my family were the most moved by my gratitude. Well, except for Haley who said, "Mom, I know you love me. You tell me all the time!" Now that I am a parent myself, the way i feel about my own parents has changed. I think about their life and all they did to raise us the way they did. AMAZING! I could only hope to be so good at the job of parenting.
I have a lot to be thankful for and I hope to always to know how good I have it.