“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F Kennedy
This reminds me of the saying, I can’t hear what you are saying, because your actions are drowning out the words. I have always thought of this as being a matter of saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Meaning being truthful with both ourselves and others.
I think that many of us lie to ourselves more than we lie to each other. I feel guilty immediately if I lie to someone else, but I think that because I may not want to face the truth about something personally, I lie to myself and feel protected and good about the lie.
Of course it is mostly subconscious and not on purpose, but it happens just the same. Whenever you utter an excuse, it is usually a lie. I’m too busy, is usually something else, like I’m just not interested; or you are afraid of what others might think if you did it; or you are just plain scared to put yourself out there. You lie to yourself by making up the excuse because it is easier and safer to believe 100% in the validity of the excuse.
If you want to explore under the excuse, start by exploring the feelings you have around it. Lift up each feeling and keep saying “what else is here?” as you look for the true feeling at the bottom of the pile. That elusive feeling is attached to something that happened in your past that may not seem connected to the logical mind. It is a feeling, not the memory that it is attached to. Once you recognize the feeling, you free yourself to remember that this is just my subconscious trying to protect me. What I am thinking about doing now is not the same as the past memory, and so reminding myself of that truth, I can now make a truthful decision from this place without that connection.
You may say thank you for a gift that you don’t even like, because you were trained (translated you got into trouble) to always say thank you for a gift. Instead why not look at the gift and find a truly useful thing about it that you can be grateful for, and then when you say thank you, you will mean it. You aren’t just grateful, you appreciate the time and energy that this person put into finding you what they thought was the perfect gift. It isn’t perfunctory, it is from the heart. Their heart will know and feel it, and everyone will have a warm heartfelt appreciation glowing out into the world.