The winter holiday time is often referred to as the season of gratitude. For many people, the end of the year is a time to pay-it-forward and give to others as an expression of gratitude.
Recently at DOVE Center, many of our staff members wrote reflections about what gratitude meant to them. Although each response was personal and unique, they all shared the common thread of being grateful for meaningful human connection.
No matter what their roles at DOVE were, each message reflected on the deep satisfaction that comes when along with their clients, volunteers, and community supporter, they opened themselves up and trusted another human.
One of our therapists, Carly, was grateful for being a part of what she called a container of connection, trust, and collaboration. For her it’s the place where healing takes place. By trusting one another, the survivor can finally breath and take small steps forward, knowing they are safe and supported.
Our volunteer coordinator, Natalie, said she is humbled by learning the stories behind the desire to give back by volunteering. DOVE Advocates, Bevin and Elizabeth, were grateful for the opportunities their positions gave them to connect with and impact populations in our community which are often overlooked: youth and Spanish speaking individuals.
The benefits of gratitude are studied in the field of positive psychology research and the subject of many publications. A recent Harvard Business article noted that while gratitude studies cannot prove cause and effect, most studies “support an association between gratitude and an individual’s well-being.”
In 2010 Clinical Psychology Review reported that expressing gratitude was “associated with more positive social relationships and better physical health, especially in regard to stress and sleep.”
All formal research aside, I can only speak to what I see in my day-to-day work with DOVE colleagues and supporters and that is, expressions of gratitude, whether from a co-worker, donor, or survivor benefit both the giver and receiver.
Accepting gratitude can be difficult at times. Feeling uncomfortable with the attention it brings, we tend to push it off with statements like “I was just doing my job” or “it was nothing.” Genuine gratitude is a gift we should accept with open hands and hearts. Not accepting it diminishes its value, much like telling someone you don’t like the gift they just gave you.
DOVE Center has been the recipient of our community’s gratitude for 27 years. The holiday season tends to magnify the generosity expressed by volunteers and donors toward survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence. The message this outpouring sends to our staff and clients connects us together. It says you are not alone, and we care about you.
Everyday seems to bring more news of tragedy and discord in the world, and yet at DOVE we read the notes of appreciation, feel the embraces of thankfulness and stare at the bags of wish-list donations that seem to appear from nowhere.
From our hearts to yours, please accept our gratitude and know that your generosity inspires and encourages everyone at DOVE to continue to provide the human connection we to survive and thrive.
Written by Glenna Beyer, Director of Fundraising and Development