How many times a day do you say thank you? Just for a bit of interesting fun, count the number of times. Using the phrase seems to be a form of social grease….pleasantries and niceties we us as we go through a normal day. It seems almost like a reflex when someone holds the door for you, provides you with some kind of service, or answers a question you’ve been pondering for a while. Sometimes it’s just a quick “thanks” when you’re in a hurry, and can be just a nod of acknowledgement or a smile. As an experiment once in a while, add eye contact, and see what happens. With all the “bad news” by which we seem to be besieged daily in all its variations, take a moment to remember that most, if not all, cultures have a way of expressing gratitude. In my opinion, it’s the glue that keeps the rest of us from creating more “bad news”.
At the end of some emails I get are the words, “If you can read this, thank a teacher; if you enjoying freedom, thank a veteran.” I can, I am, and I do.
Receiving gratitude from someone is also a creative art. Responses can range from a tongue-in-cheek “Aw shucks, ma’am, t’warn’t nuthin” to “ you are very welcome” or “It was my pleasure”. I’m sure you can think of more. Whether giving thanks or receiving it, you have the opportunity to positively enhance the day for yourself and others.
In my brief stint as a Boy Scout, I never had the chance to help an old lady cross the street. Thirty or more years later as I was getting out of my car parked on the corner of a busy intersection, I was presented with the opportunity to fulfill a “cliché” when asked if I would help. All the way across the street we were thanking each other, which is why I still remember the moment fondly.
Years later, my best friend and I were headed somewhere in his pick-up during a significantly blistering day, with three digit temperatures, when he saw a “senior citizen” toting several grocery bags in both hands, walking down the road in the opposite direction. We stopped, offered a ride, he graciously accepted, I hopped in the bed of the truck, he thanked us “very much” when he arrived, and we all felt good about what had just happened. Random acts of kindness always involve gratitude and the opportunity to elevate the spirit of the day.
Just one more. A couple of months ago I made the annual mistake of locking my keys in the car. A co-worker generously gave me a ride home, going way out of her way to do so. Last week was her birthday and I gave her three boxes of chocolate covered cherries in gratitude. She shared them with the rest of the staff. Kindness seems to have repercussions as well.
When you have some spare time, and since the airwaves are filled with summer reruns and vitriolic candidates, get comfy and make a list of things for which you are thankful in your life. Then take it one step further. As often as you can, before you turn in for the night, think of all that you are thankful for that happened that day. When I do it, which isn’t often enough, I find I have more pleasant dreams and “wake up feeling refreshed”. No pills involved. Imagine that.
In the hope that you choose to develop a “Gratitude Attitude,” I offer my sincere thanks for stopping here to take a peek at what I have to share.