Giving & Receiving… Gratitude is all we need!

by Cindy van de Kreke-Freens & José de Heer

Gratitude is a word that shows up a lot lately. We get encouraged to practice gratitude. But what is it, really?

According to the Oxford Dictionary gratitude means: “The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” It sounds simple and yet there are a lot of assumptions around “how one expresses gratitude”.

A dear friend of us handed out hand written cards as a token of her appreciation of her fellow participants after a 3-day-intense- and-personal-course. She received diverse reactions. Some reacted overly grateful and guiltily because they did not have anything to give her in return. Some were clearly confused and clammed up and only one smiled genuinely and thanked her. Despite our friend’s good intentions, the impact was mixed. Our guess is that we all have experienced similar situations and yes, probably we recognize ourselves in all of the reactions, too. We sure do:-)

What’s not gratitude?

- Keeping the score by returning the favor.

- Letting someone’s light/love bring out our discomfort: Our inability to receive a compliment or a gift sometimes makes us react inappropriately.

- Givers gain: giving with theintention and expectation to get something in return.

Gratitude is, according to the Oxford Dictionary: “being thankful: readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”.So, giving is purely about enjoying the act of giving. And, how can we do that? By being mindful and by counting our blessings. The key is to do that right in the moment. We can be thankful for others, the people around us, and what they bring into our lives, for things that happen to us, and we can be thankful for ourselves.

In our busy lives, it’s easy to forget and just move on, as if we’re on autopilot. We also tend to focus on the negative, on things that didn’t go so well in our day. And it’s important to sometimes just observe and think about all the good things that surround us. Gratitude is a balancing act. It can help us re-focus on the bigger picture, what’s really important.

Being grateful for others and expressing that to them, helps us deepen the relationship and increases our feeling of unity. The other person will feel recognized and valued. We give this person a boost. We get more done together, as if our batteries last longer.

In order to be giving and receiving gratitude as a booster for ourselves and others,we only need to “be” with the other, to share the gift of being together and to see the other. So, in our opinion gratitude only requires an expression of joy, a smile, an acknowledgement. What do you think?

Gratefully yours,

Cindy & José



Cindy van de Kreke-Freens and José de Heer are qualified Certified Professional Co-Active Coaches (CPCC) at Authenticity Coaching & Consultancy.They are passionate about empowering people.

Authenticity Coaching & Consultancy (www.authenticity.ae) is a Dubai based Coaching and Consultancy Company and the “go to” place for clients and coaches in the UAE. Authenticity is a company built on passion, transparency and shared dreams that are bigger than life. They are a team of coaches and trainers who provide different services and programs such as Life-Coaching, Corporate/Executive Coaching, Authentic Parenting, Tiger Training, Shift Effective Communication Programs and Future Surfing.


Leave a Reply