It's Thanksgiving--and this year we're not asking you to share what you're thankful for. Instead, we ask that you take part in a very brief exercise. (This one works particularly well if you're already in a foul mood.) All you need to do is take two minutes to read the words of a few Modest Needs grant recipients who, independent of the holiday, reached out to thank donors for changing their lives.
We're asking you to do this because it's good for you.
Experiencing the gratitude of others, either by witnessing it directly or reading it on a page, leads to an automatic self-inventory, the kind that can help anyone accidentally discover something (or someone) they are thankful for.
Phase 1: You read one person's appreciation for having their electricity restored.
Phase 2: While reading their story you put yourself in their shoes, imagining what it must have been like to live without working lights or a refrigerator.
Phase 3: You recognize that your electricity is on. You appreciate your lights. You love your refrigerator.
Phase 4. You suddenly feel thankful for your electricity.
Phase 5. You feel thankful, period.
Thankfulness is contagious.
Using another individual's gratitude to uncover hidden appreciation is an exercise that can help anyone, even those suffering hardships or disappointment. Consider it a cheat code for accessing your own thankfulness. And never feel guilty for using it. In trying times it can seem impossible to find something that you're just "okay" with, let alone something you're outright "thankful" for. Using another person's gratitude as a springboard to launch your own hurts no one and helps everyone.
We hope that the testimonials below will help kick your own hidden gratitudes to the surface, making this holiday season one where you exerpience the natural high of gratitude. So go ahead. Here's four chances to try the exercise out:
Grant Request Title: "Widow Raising Grandchild Needs a Hand with the Mortgage" (New Orleans, Louisiana)
"I would like to thank all of you for fully funding my application for help with our mortgage! I am a widow struggling to stay on top of my bills while taking care of my granddaughter. I work full-time, but my salary is only a little more than minimum wage. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is still effecting our lives, and has burdened me with unexpected expenses to repair our lives and home. I am so overwhelmed and grateful. Until your help we thought we would lose our home. I know your good deeds come from your hearts. Just knowing there are people out there who care about helping other people all over the world is a blessing. God Bless all who donated. My sincere thanks to you all."
Grant Request Title: "Must Have All Teeth Extracted, Procedure Not Covered By Insurance" (Morgan Hill, California)
"How can I thank you enough for your selflessness to grant my application? It is so difficult to express how your assistance will help me in my time of need. I am a disabled senior living in a SAFE senior park, and now because of you, I will be able to stay. I did not have to choose between my health and having a home. It is so frightening to think about homelessness at my age. The effects of your generousity carries over into my health. The less stress I experience, the better my blood sugar results become and the fewer overall health problems I have. So you see how awesome it is for me that you chose to fund my application. It also makes me feel hopeful about the future. I assist others in this park who have less than I do, and this fortunate experience allows me to continue my efforts to stay here and continue my support to others."
Grant Request Title: "Single Mom Needs to Pay Nursing License to Keep Job!" (Olympia, Washington)
"Thank you so much for helping me pay for my nursing license renewal! I could not have paid this without your help. Now I can keep working and bringing in income to support my family, and avoid incurring crazy fees or losing my license. It's wonderful that there is a program that helps people BEFORE they fall through the cracks, not after they fall. I hope someday I can help others the way you've helped me. I can't get over your kindness. Thank you so much!"
Grant Request Title: "Must Buy and Train New Service Dog to Remain Independent" (Lyons, New York)
"I applied for a grant with Modest Needs to help me adopt a service dog to be my companion and to help me remain independent. After applying, I tried to control my hope. I have suffered many disappointments, including the recent death of my long-time service dog and best friend, and didn't want to be disappointed again. I didn't know if I would have the spiritual strength to apply again for help if I got denied the funding. Which is why I was overwhelmed when my application was fully funded!
Even though I have tried to express how I feel, it is impossible to really tell you how much this grant means to me. It has rejuvenated my will to live just when I needed it most. I will now really be able to raise another puppy to be my constant companion and eternal friend. I will not be alone. I will be able to maintain my independence, something that is important to me and who I am. I am so grateful to everyone. Thank you!"
There. That was quick. And painless. Don't you feel just a little bit better? A little thankful, even? There are even more testimonials here.
And for the record, we at Modest Needs are thankful for your ongoing support. Without you, our work would not be possible.