The goal here is not to write the perfect letter or keep the perfect journal. The goal is to start something. You can build on it later.
A friend sent me a few of their entries last week, which spurred me on further. So, in the interest of paying it forward, I’ve included an imperfect “gratitude letter” of my own. I hope it helps.
My Sample Gratitude Letter for You
What an amazing year it has been. I’m so grateful to have walked this road and learned what I’ve learned.
Eighteen months ago, as you know (because you were there), I was sidelined, then fired, from the nonprofit I founded and led for 15 years. Devastating. Infuriating. Humiliating.
I decided not to waste time whining. I might have lost my job, but I wasn’t going to lose my year. Let alone lose my faith, my hope, or my love. I wasn’t going to let you down like that.
I decided to learn. I decided to grow. And above all, I decided to be grateful.
I got so much more time with my family.
I got space to be alone.
I got to live free of public expectations.
I stopped skipping meals. (I slept 8 hours a night for the first time in my adult life—I didn’t know that was a thing people actually did!)
Our family started walking, playing, and working out together.
Now, at 43, I’ve already faced my biggest fear… and survived!
I’ve seen friendship I never could have imagined and experienced generosity that I’d only heard of.
And, perhaps most importantly, I now know that even when I hit rock bottom, I bounce!
I’m not only grateful that we have shelter, food, and health, but that we’ve made deliberate choices to improve our quality of life. In a year that could have been defined by denial, depression, and despair, I’m grateful we’ve used the adversity to level up our organizational design, our service model, and our leadership principles.
I’m grateful for the team, the donors, and the communities rebuilding with us.
At a time when my loftiest ideas and ideals were stress-tested beyond anything I’ve had to personally contend with, I’m grateful to find my faith in-tact and my heart expanded. Surrounded by voices demanding we all take the most negative, cynical view of each other, I’m more committed than ever to extending the benefit of the doubt, embracing personal responsibility, rejecting blame, and working to create a world where we all rise together.
This route was not my first choice. But I’m grateful for the road we’re on, knowing that it doesn’t have to change the destination, and trusting that the unexpected detour will be full of its own joys that make us better, stronger, and more full of love.
I thank God, I thank the friends, and I thank the critics… everyone’s my teacher and everything belongs.
And, lastly, like Snoop Dogg said, “I wanna thank me.” Whatever else might be true, I’m on this road because of me—good and bad, highs and lows, rights and wrongs—I brought me here. And I’m sure going to make the most of it.
For 15 years, I was singularly obsessed. That was fun. Today, I’m tapped into an entire Constellation of Joy. I know now that stars will blaze and stars will fade. But no single star can tell the story of a life lived to its fullness. And I will spend the rest of my life connecting the dots of gratitude into an ever-expanding picture of Love.