Weekly Reflection 12.19: On Saying Thank You

So I know a few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of gratitude, and I know on the surface you might think to yourself that this is a repetition of that post, but it’s not. Gratitude, in my opinion, is an internal state of mind. It is learning to live in the mindset of acceptance and satisfaction. Saying thank you is completely external. Though I’d argue it makes the sayer feel better, it’s main purpose is in fact to affect someone external.

You know those times that you’re stuck on the road on  your way home, there’s terrible traffic, and people are changing lanes all over the place. Now I, like most of you, have days when I adamantly let no one in in front of me, and then I have days when I am the most generous person alive (in terms of letting people into my lane…aka some serious first world problems levels generosity going on over here). One of my biggest pet peeves, and something that is bound to ensure that I will let no one else into my lane even on those generous days, is when I let someone into my lane and the person doesn’t (effing) thank me.

Now you, dear reader, raise your hand and do a quick wave to no one. How long did that take you? I counted one second. But I will be generous (again) and give you five seconds. How hard is it to take five seconds to thank someone for letting you in to their lane?! This is one of the things where the cost (one to five seconds) is so miniscule compared to the outcome (someone else’s satisfaction) that I don’t understand why it isn’t just a freaking reflex at this point.

To be clear, saying thank you applies to a whole lot more than changing lanes on a crowded highway. Let me pose an example which my mom gave me today.

When she was in college, my mom would clean her parents’ apartment every single Thursday. She would lift the chairs off the floor and move furniture around to sweep and mop. She would dust and scrub away while they were at work downstairs. One Thursday her parents came back from work and said “The apartment isn’t so clean today.” That was the first time they had acknowledged her cleaning. She never cleaned their apartment again.

Feeling appreciated is something that’s important for everyone. There are very few truly altruistic people out there (I’m sorry but I would honestly argue there aren’t any. There’s a whole Friends episode about this. Go watch it). I’d argue even people that consider themselves truly altruistic would start becoming resentful if they weren’t thanked for their altruism. The thing is though, while most everyone wants to be appreciated, very few people focus on doling out appreciation. So I’d like to challenge you guys to start thanking people, honestly, for everything. Overdo it. Get annoying about it! Pick a period of time and acknowledge every single thing that someone else does for you. Then decide when you feel better, when you are thanking people or when you’re taking them for granted. It’s totally your choice. But I love thanking people to the point of joking. Because at least then I’m putting a smile on my face.

So thank you dear readers. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Thank you for considering responding to it. Thank you for looking at other posts. Thank you for signing up for e-mail updates. Thank you! And I hope you have a wonderful thank-you-filled end of 2015!

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