3 Ways to Deepen Gratitude This Holiday Season

    —
December 20, 2019

It is true that misery cannot simultaneously exist alongside gratitude and that, despite ourselves, we are constantly being given more than we give. To prove that point, try this simple, elegant practice and see for yourself. Please note: If you resist doing this exercise, consider that you are doing so because you, like most human beings, prefer to believe that you give more than you receive. If you find you’re wrong, what will happen to your resentment or other feelings of disappointment?

Naikan Inventory List

Take a few full size notebook paper and draw three columns. At the top of column #1, write “What he/she/they gave to me.” At the top of column #2, write “What I gave to him/her/them.” At the top of column #3, write “The trouble I caused him/her/them. Exhaust each column with your list of SPECIFIC items before moving onto the next. The timeline to consider is the last 3 months. The use of “always” or “usually” should be avoided. Be precise.

Write three letters of gratitude

You should have enough evidence to write three separate letters of appreciation to your partner. Be sure to make each different, using alternate words expressing thanks to your partner. You can give your partner this letter (or card), or you can simply keep it to yourself. Your choice. The exercise was for you anyway.

Write three letters of apology

You should have enough evidence from your list to apologize for putting your partner out. Make each letter unique by saying “I’m sorry” in different ways. Again, you can give this to your partner or simply keep it private. Either way, the exercise does its magic. If you were honest and thorough, you might have noticed that column #2 was shorter than columns 1 & 3. We are selfish creatures; always aware of what we’re not getting and how our partners cause us grief.

I hope this exercise has helped deepen your gratitude during this holiday season!

Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT, is a clinician and author who integrates neuroscience, attachment theory, and current therapies. He directs training programs throughout North America and globally. He is the author of We Do: Saying Yes to a Relationship of Depth, True Connection, and Enduring LoveWired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain and Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Build a Secure Relationship. 

The community here at Sounds True wishes you a lovely holiday season! We are happy to collaborate with some of our Sounds True authors to offer you wisdom and practices as we move into this time together; please enjoy this blog series for your holiday season. 

To help encourage you and your loved ones to explore new possibilities this holiday season, we’re offering 40% off nearly all of our programs, books, and courses sitewide. May you find the wisdom to light your way. 

EXPLORE NOW

 

Stan Tatkin

Photo of ()\

Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT, is a clinician and author who integrates neuroscience, attachment theory, and current therapies. He directs training programs throughout North America and globally. He is the author of Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner's Brain and Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Build a Secure Relationship.

Author photo © Stan Tatkin 2013


Listen to Tami Simon's in-depth audio podcast interview with Stan Tatkin:
I Vow to Take You On as My Burden »

Also By Author

3 Ways to Deepen Gratitude This Holiday Season

It is true that misery cannot simultaneously exist alongside gratitude and that, despite ourselves, we are constantly being given more than we give. To prove that point, try this simple, elegant practice and see for yourself. Please note: If you resist doing this exercise, consider that you are doing so because you, like most human beings, prefer to believe that you give more than you receive. If you find you’re wrong, what will happen to your resentment or other feelings of disappointment?

Naikan Inventory List

Take a few full size notebook paper and draw three columns. At the top of column #1, write “What he/she/they gave to me.” At the top of column #2, write “What I gave to him/her/them.” At the top of column #3, write “The trouble I caused him/her/them. Exhaust each column with your list of SPECIFIC items before moving onto the next. The timeline to consider is the last 3 months. The use of “always” or “usually” should be avoided. Be precise.

Write three letters of gratitude

You should have enough evidence to write three separate letters of appreciation to your partner. Be sure to make each different, using alternate words expressing thanks to your partner. You can give your partner this letter (or card), or you can simply keep it to yourself. Your choice. The exercise was for you anyway.

Write three letters of apology

You should have enough evidence from your list to apologize for putting your partner out. Make each letter unique by saying “I’m sorry” in different ways. Again, you can give this to your partner or simply keep it private. Either way, the exercise does its magic. If you were honest and thorough, you might have noticed that column #2 was shorter than columns 1 & 3. We are selfish creatures; always aware of what we’re not getting and how our partners cause us grief.

I hope this exercise has helped deepen your gratitude during this holiday season!

Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT, is a clinician and author who integrates neuroscience, attachment theory, and current therapies. He directs training programs throughout North America and globally. He is the author of We Do: Saying Yes to a Relationship of Depth, True Connection, and Enduring LoveWired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain and Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Build a Secure Relationship. 

The community here at Sounds True wishes you a lovely holiday season! We are happy to collaborate with some of our Sounds True authors to offer you wisdom and practices as we move into this time together; please enjoy this blog series for your holiday season. 

To help encourage you and your loved ones to explore new possibilities this holiday season, we’re offering 40% off nearly all of our programs, books, and courses sitewide. May you find the wisdom to light your way. 

EXPLORE NOW

 

Stan Tatkin: I Vow to Take You On as My Burden

Stan Tatkin is a clinical psychologist, couples and family therapist, and the author of Wired for Love. With Sounds True, he has published a new book titled We Do: Saying Yes to a Relationship of Depth, True Connection, and Enduring Love. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Stan about his unique methodology, the Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT). Stan explains his definition of a couple as a “biological survival unit” and some of the common occurrences that threaten the long-term cohesion of that unit. Tami and Stan discuss the ways attachment styles affect our ability to be in relationship and how we have to accept partners along with their burdens. Finally, Stan details what it means to have “secure functioning” in a relationship and the key lessons for creating a healthy, loving long-term partnership. (69 minutes)

Tami’s Takeaway: “Everyone is a pain in the ass,” teaches Stan, “and so are you.” Listening to Stan, I developed an even deeper appreciation of my beloved wife of 17 years, how she puts up with me . . . and how I put up with her. It also illuminated how the combination can lead to what Stan calls “a secure functioning relationship” where we see each other realistically, not idealistically, and are committed to collaborating as a successful “survival unit” consisting of two perfectly imperfect human beings.

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