Showing Gratitude

By Liz, grateful it’s not super cold yet!

It’s the most grateful month of the year.

You all know that, though. It’s November, after all. November and gratitude are kind of synonymous. And if you’ve been following the blog, you know we’re doing giveaways all month to show we’re grateful for our readers. Our Wicked Wednesday posts cover everything we’re grateful for, from agents to mentors to the little things. We are all blessed, and we know it.

And that means being grateful for everything, even the things that don’t seem so great. It’s been a challenging month for me personally, so I’ve been trying to put extra attention on all those blessings in my life — large and small. The people, pets and experiences that I’m incredibly lucky to have in my life. Being able to write books that make people happy. Being part of a community. I could go on.

But this year, it seems important to show that gratitude differently. We’ve all spoken a lot in the past couple of weeks about “doing something.” About making a difference, being kind, speaking up. We’ve all seen opportunities where we can make a positive impact on someone’s life. This comes in many forms, whether it be standing up for someone who’s being treated poorly, or listening to someone who needs a friend. Buying someone a cup of coffee. Actually doing something, not just thinking about gratitude.

keyThis year at Crime Bake, I had two experiences that brought this point home. The first was when I stepped out of a session to sit for a few minutes in one of the hotel’s common areas. A lovely woman approached and asked me to sign a book. I did, and then I invited her to stay and chat. She told me about the project she was working on during NaNoWriMo, and how she hoped to finish her book soon after. I told her I had no doubt she could do it, and that I expected to see her back at Crime Bake next year with a finished manuscript and ready to pitch. Her whole face lit up and she thanked me for the encouragement. She walked away happy.

And when I was packing up my car to leave the conference at the end of the weekend, another woman approached me outside the hotel. We’d met at Malice. She told me that when we’d spoken back in May, I’d been very encouraging about her work. So now she wanted to tell me that she’d finished her book and was shopping it around. She also thanked me for taking the time to encourage her back then, and wanted to share her next steps in this journey.

I walked away from both of these interactions full of gratitude for them, when they thought it was the other way around. But really, it goes both ways, right? “Doing something” doesn’t have to always seem big, like stepping into a fight to stand up for someone. It can be as easy as telling someone, Hey, I was where you are once. You can do it! It’s as easy as telling a person who had a positive impact on you, however large or small, that they did. Both of these things demonstrate actually showing gratitude by passing that feeling along to someone else.

And boy, if these little things start to add up, imagine what an impact we could have?

Happy Thanksgiving, readers and friends. The Wickeds are grateful for all of you.

Have you had a gratitude-filled experience lately? Tell us about it below. I’m giving away another copy of Murder Most Finicky to one commenter!

63 Thoughts

  1. Lovely post, Liz. I know that feeling of encouraging someone, and of being similarly encouraged when I was in their newbie shoes.

  2. Great post. I sat with a friend while her husband went through reconstructive surgery. It was great to give her company. Her support network could not be there physically but was there in text messages throughout the day. It was great to be a part of it.

  3. A few nice words of encouragement certainly goes a long way. Especially today when people are more inclined to tear down rather than build up. I look for opportunities to show gratitude to others because I’ve been a recipient of it and I know how beneficial it is. Fortunately I’ve had many gratitude-filled experiences and it was nice reflecting on those this morning. Thanks for the uplifting and inspiring post.

  4. I try to spend a little quiet time every Thanksgiving being grateful for all of the blessings in my life – especially the people! Fortunately for me, family is the greatest blessing. I am all too aware that for many, many people, that is not the case. When President Obama said, “No one can do it for you, but you can’t do it alone,” that really resonated with me. So for all who have helped me in any of my endeavors, heartfelt thanks. And to you, the Wickeds, I am grateful for the thoughtful writings on this blog that help me stop, smile, and reflect on a daily basis.

  5. Thanks for sharing your stories Liz! I also love how I feel when I help others. As much as it helps them I also know it is good for my self esteem. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if next year after crime bake you had a story to share about the woman you met having a completed manuscript and maybe even a book deal?? Sending positive thoughts out into the universe for her! We appreciate you and the other Wickeds just as much for all your hard work and devotion to the readers! Thanks!! 📚

  6. I needed a sweet, positive post today and this was it. So nice to see in a world filled with so much negativity. Thanks!!

  7. Love this, Liz. Every night before I fall asleep I list five things I’m grateful for from that day. I try to change it up and think of little things instead of every night saying, husband, daughter, dog, house, etc. I usually go over five — I have a lot to be grateful for.

    1. Love this, Sherry. I try to do the same when I do morning pages. I used to have a gratitude journal that I filled in every day – I need to get another!

  8. I once got on the Metro and noticed that one end of the car was filled and the other end virtually empty. After I sat down, I suddenly realized why. I had sat down across from a man who had been violently sick all over the floor. My first instinct was, Oh, No. Now what do I do. That is until the man looked up and apologized, saying that something he had eaten had made him ill. He was holding a piece of tissue in his hand that was unable to do the job of wiping off his hands and face. With that I reached in my bag and handed him the stack of napkins I had picked up in a carry-out restaurant (I’m a mother–I always carried lots of napkins). I told him that the next stop had restrooms at the street level that he could use and got off the train with him and pointed him in the right direction. He thanked me profusely. But later, it was I who was thankful. I would not have to deal with the sense of guilt I would have felt if I had moved away and left the man when he needed someone.

  9. I have to say that this month has been so full of emotion for me it has become at times unbearable. I’ve been pushed way beyond my breaking point and yet I am making it through each day with the help of my amazing best friend. She has no idea how much she impacts my life by just talking to me each day, even it is about what she is watching on tv. All it takes is one little text message to change my entire mood. I am so thankful for her kind heart.

    1. Brittany – I hear you. It’s been one of those months for me also. In fact, the past few have been. But I’ve also been leaning on good friends (like the Wickeds) and you’re right – it makes a huge difference. Sending hugs.

  10. Thanks for sharing. I feel graditude when my friends help me with simple things I can’t do this year when I was fine last year. Like putting christmas lights on my tree for me.

  11. We had a huge snowstorm a few days ago—18 inches in our yard. At first I was unhappy about all that snow, but I’ve decided to be grateful for it since we’ll finally be able to sit some of our Christmas decorations in the snow this year and have them not fall over.

  12. I had an experience just listening to a friend who had the courage to leave an abusive relationship. I just listened and told her how glad I was that she had the courage to do this. It really brought home how grateful I am to have so many good things in my life and grateful I am to have her as a friend.

  13. I’ve got a smile on my face. Thanks for sharing this. It is amazing how doing something for someone else can lift your spirits, too.

  14. Thank you for sharing this, Liz. Just beautiful. The gift of encouragement is priceless.

  15. This is so generous of you. Thank you for the opportunity. I am jazzed to be entering.

  16. Thank you for sharing with us, not only with this, but in your Facebook pages and your books. I am grateful to all of you for the books you write to bring us such joy. I have had several gratitude filled experiences recently (ok all the time). My dear friend who has been battling cancer for over 15 years, was recently given her 3rd clear scan after being on a new drug. Even in the face of all that she faces, including learning her 91 year old aunt is in stage 4 cancer, she finds the time to say thank you for any small thing I may do. She sends me photos of her wearing a hat or her little tree I may have sent. They are such little things I do for her, but her gratitude and love in the face of all that she has going on, that is true grace and gratitude and amazing to me.

  17. Thanks for making me smile & be even more grateful for all my friends in the reading & writing community!

  18. Wow thanks for sharing this! I am grateful for so many things. We all need to take a look around and see what others are dealing with. We need to be kind and helpful to those in need.

  19. I’m thankful that I have great friends as neighbors. We spent yesterday cleaning up both yards for the winter and we actually had fun doing it.

  20. Every day I’m grateful that I woke up (yes, even when I have to get up hours earlier than I would like). I have learned to fully enjoy and be grateful for all the little things in my life. If I wait for the big things, I won’t be joyful very much of the time. Of course, I’m grateful for a loving husband and daughter. But I’m also grateful for the new washing machine I got ten years ago! I still love it. I have learned that the more I give of myself, the more I get in return. I’ll never catch up and I’m grateful for that, too. Life is good no matter what happens.

  21. In the past year it’s become more and more difficult for me to read articles about all the atrocities experienced by refugees. I realized what a blessed life I have. I decided to start expressing gratitude every morning for the things I might normally take for granted: indoor plumbing, heating and air conditioning, health insurance, my job, my car, etc. And in the past three weeks I’ve been on the receiving end of kindnesses: my youngest sister, whose health has not been good for a very long time, experienced complications after a routine surgical procedure and is now on hospice care. She has no spouse or children so I’ve been taking vacation time to be with her in a hospital in another city. One friend gave me a gift certificate for a gas station in my neighborhood, another one has been doing my laundry, a coworker gave me a ride to an important meeting about her health care because it was in area I wasn’t familiar with and in a city that I don’t know.

  22. My grandmother was in the hospital for 79 days. She was septic and very disorientated, one night she pulled out all of her tubes, so they tied her down. My mother, my aunt and I took 8 hr shifts from then on out so they wouldn’t tie her down again. I was working long hours at that time and fell behind in my yard work. I noticed one morning as I was leaving that my lawn was trimmed and my garbages were on the curb. I’m sure it must’ve been done the day before, but it was dark and I was too tired to notice when I had pulled in the previous night. I wanted to say thank you, but everyone I asked denied knowing who had done it. It made me cry…there are still genuine people out there. Someone that would do something nice for someone and not take any credit for it.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Happy Holidays!

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