Have we forgotten how to say thank you? Just what does thank you mean?
Words matter and it seems somewhere along the line we have forgotten what some words and phrases really mean and the importance of them.
Thank you is a polite expression or phrase used to acknowledge a gift, service, a compliment or accepting or refusing an offer.
It can also be used as a way of expressing thanks. E.g. if someone plans a party to thank the hospital staff who were integral in seeing them through an illness or injury.
Thanksgiving is a celebration practised in the USA and Canada to give thanks to the good things in people’s lives. How many have actually forgotten what the whole celebration is about and why it started? It is only seen as a holiday from work and school.
Where did we lose the ability to appreciate the good in other people?
Are we too busy to realise the good things in life?
Everybody seems to be busy and have no time or is it they feel they have to state that they are busy leading a full life and in reality they are not.
The words thank you seem to be lost in everyday life. People don’t acknowledge what is happening all around them.
When you do something to help others, even if it is to open the door for someone else or keep the door open for someone behind you and when they say thank you while looking at you, you are smiling and thinking that is nice to be acknowledged. Those times no one says thank you it makes you think why did I bother, why are they so ungrateful?
Now you start thinking, did you say thank you when someone else did something small for you?
It may be the only interaction that person had in their day. It only cost a few seconds of your time to acknowledge it and you did not even realise.
We have all missed those opportunities of gratitude that make the day for other people.
Thanking that random stranger means you make eye contact. For that brief moment in time you are living in the moment and appreciating the kindness. Not only does that make the other person feel good, it makes you feel better too. Who doesn’t have those brief moments in their day to recognise the good.
The benefits of saying thank you
It allows us to stop and be in the moment and be present. Stop thinking about all that needs to be done. Just celebrating the here and now. We are stopping to smell the roses.
Appreciate what is happening all around us.
This of course means we step out of ourselves and stop feeling overwhelmed in a situation. We are not worried about all that has to be done and the fear of not getting it all done. By stopping all that and being present in the moment we put a pause on the negative emotions we are feeling. We step away from the stress, pain or fear that we are feeling .
We become aware of our surroundings. While accepting and acknowledging the kindness of a stranger and thanking them for it we realise the positive impact it has on us. We may want to spread it around and without actively doing it we are helping someone else in their moment of need. The act of kindness spreads.
Being grateful for actions is a positive thing. No one person can do it all and no one person is an island. We all need the help and support of others to get things done. Yes, others are paid for their service or role and they do it. So many people work in the service industry and are underappreciated.
Kind words and gratitude go a long way in a working day.
It is an important job these people are doing. They are not getting paid a lot of money for their work. So many survive on tips and thrive on the buzz and interaction from the people.
How many of us have been at an airport and have had a flight delayed or cancelled. No, it is not the fault of the counter staff or stewardesses. They probably only want to get home themselves. Shouting and being aggressive towards them is not going to make things any better. Being respectful, calm and understanding goes a long way on all sides. Remaining as calm as possible, able to process what is going on and solve issues that may arise. They cannot make a plane appear out of nowhere and get all passengers on board . However they can get as much information on the situation and explain to the desperate passengers.
We all have reasons throughout our day for being grateful to others and so many of us forget to say the words thank you. If we don’t notice it within our own family or friend circle and acknowledge it, how can we truly appreciate things?
Happiness comes from within and showing kindness to others, noticing how nice it is to get help when we need it most. We should never forget what it is like in that situation when we need it and to have a random stranger help. Eg the car breaks down and the next car stops and helps fixing the car.
If we don’t appreciate it in other people we can’t see when others may need our help.
Expressing gratitude pauses the negative emotions
When you are open to recognising the positive kind moments in your day you are not feeling negative and toxic. If you are feeling jealous about how easy others have it or how things just don’t work out for you you are only living in your own head or bubble. It is impossible to feel both at the same time. Who wants to fill their day with self loathing and frustrated thoughts? The day is too short for that.
Being open to those positive moments in your day could be the inspiration you need right now to motivate you to take the next step, to aim and reach for your goals. It all starts with the first step.
Saying Thank You opens you up to more opportunities.
As you interact more with the people around you it leads to various conversations and who knows who you end up meeting. Being open to possibilities you never even imagined. Taking those few minutes to help someone with their shopping could find you talking with someone who is in the industry that you want to get into. Having a conversation with someone at a park bench could be the moment they share their life story with you. You may help them on their healing journey and through hearing it you find the information you need to help someone else in your life.
This leads to boosting your own self worth.
By showing gratitude to others who have shared moments in their day with you and helped you out with the positive feeling it gives you lasts longer than brief moments and can lead to wonderful things.
By helping someone today it could lead to you meeting people who become part of your lives. They could introduce you to a new hobby or interest that builds your self confidence even more.
You realise that you have a place in the world, you can be of use to others.
The importance of saying thank you in our lives
Saying Thank you seems to have lost its value. At times is only quickly muttered as if someone feels obliged to say it at all and just move on.
With thanksgiving coming up maybe we could all do with stopping for a moment and taking in a deep breath, holding it and breathing out.
Can you stop and think right now of 3 things that you are grateful for in your life and think about the last time you said thank you to someone for the action they did?
Was it a long time ago?
A challenge for you.
Go through the week and see how many situations there are where you were helped by someone. Can you stop and look at them and say thank you and offer a genuine smile. Pause for a moment in your day. See how the other person reacts. Let them know you acknowledge what they have done and appreciate it and hope that they continue to do this for others.
If you are approached by someone in the shop needing help eg they forgot their reading glasses. Pause and help them out. You have saved them a lot of stress and worry and may even have been the only contact or interaction that person has had in the day. The expression of gratitude once they make it remember how that makes you feel and the smile that comes on your face thinking that was a simple thing to do and it makes a difference. The thank you you received was priceless.
Looking for some inspiration to start your gratitude journal click here for a template.