Why It Is Important to Develop the Habit of Saying THANK YOU

Saying Thank You Is Becoming a Thing of the Past

Expressing gratitude by saying thank you was expected when I was growing up. Children were taught from an early age that showing appreciation was basic good manners. That no longer seems to be the case.

How long has it been since someone said thank you to you? I don’t hear it offten – and never from young people.

A study of over 8000 people showed that the words ‘thank you’ are rarely spoken these days because “Across cultures, close-knit groups of people take it for granted that people will cooperate with each other, to the point that saying thanks is no longer needed.”

REALLY?  People no longer feel it’s important to acknowledge someone’s help because we take it for granted that people will help us. What world are those who feel that way living in? People don’t help others and when they do, they are not acknowledged.

Sad but true! Expressing graditude with those two simple words is no longer practiced or expected (except by us old folks)!

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.  – William James

Saying Thank You
Image by SIphotography iStock-586935018

As a society, have we forgotten how to show appreciation to others?

Are we so busy that there isn’t enough time to express our gratitude?

How often do you say thank you for the actions taken by others on your behalf?

How often do you hear “thank you” when you do something kind and thoughtful?

I love it when someone says thank you to me — it makes me feel so good. When I get a thank you note in the mail (or even a text), I’m over the moon. But, I have to admit it’s been a very long time since I have experienced either one.

You and I can change that — at least in our little circles of influence.

Join me in dusting off our manners and strengthening our gratitude muscles by relearning the lost art of saying “Thank You.”

Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it all into words is all that is necessary. — Margaret Cousins

What Does It Mean to Show Appreciation?

Appreciation is thankful recognition — gratitude; it is openly acknowledging the value and significance of a person’s words and actions or of them an individual.

It can be demonstrated in a multitude of ways — from saying a simple, sincere thank you, to a handwritten note, to a grand gesture.

When you genuinely show appreciation for someone, you are telling them how much you value them.

Words of appreciation will touch the hearts of strangers and strengthen relationships with loved ones

Appreciation is a pure act of kindness that comes from the heart. It is an art that should be nurtured by everyone.

Appreciation Changes Lives

Everyone yearns to be appreciated — it’s human nature. We measure our worth by how much we matter to others and the difference we make in their lives.

We may know, or at least believe, that our lives count — that the things we do for others are valued. But believing is not enough, we need to be told.

When you express appreciation for a person’s words and actions or for having a positive impact on your life — you are giving them a priceless gift.

Your words of gratitude become a validation of who they are.

In a small way, you will have changed the person’s life.

How to Show Appreciation

It would be impossible to list all the ways you can show appreciation

A few to consider . . .

  • Notice the little things people do. When you see an act of kindness or are the recipient of one, let the person know how much you valued it. Thank them when you are the recipient — and commend them when you witness the act of kindness for someone else.
  • Look for and acknowledge unique qualities in others — the ones that define them as individuals and separate them from the crowd. Acknowledge and show appreciation for unique talents, characteristics, accomplishments, and contributions to the world.
  • Send birthday cards with handwritten good wishes by mail. A person’s birthday is important! By making an effort to remember their special day with a card (and I don’t mean send a text), you are sending a clear message that they are important to you and that you value their presence in your life.
  • Give small surprise gifts and notes to loved ones. When you see something small that reminds you of someone you love, buy it and give it to them. Remember to add a warm hug and a word of appreciation.
  • Tuck notes of love and appreciation in your children’s/significant other’s backpack or lunch box. Tuck small gifts under their pillows at night.

There are a million possibilities. Once you start, ideas will flow.

Say Thank You Every Chance You Get

This is the simplest, most direct, and most important way to continually show appreciation. Saying ‘thank you’ expresses gratitude for every kindness, takes very little effort, and means so much.

It can be a soft verbal thank you when someone holds a door open for you, or they let you get on the elevator first — when a co-worker does something to ease your workload, when your daughter quickly picks up a package you dropped, or when a clerk at the grocery store is especially helpful.

A smile and a thank you can be magical — try it, you’ll like it!

Saying Thank You
Image by Ever@iStock-95623446

Take it a step further — start writing thank you notes. Pick up your pen and show your thanks.

Buy a box of simple note cards, find a smooth-flowing pen, and pick up a sheet of stamps so you are always prepared.

Send a handwritten note by mail as soon as possible for gifts received, parties attended, staying in someone’s home, for help someone gave you at school or work, social events, etc. Let the giver know how much you appreciate the thoughtfulness and effort on your behalf.

Even beyond that, write a thank you note to someone who touches your life, i.e., for a particularly stirring address given at your church or club, an author, a speaker or lecturer, someone who organized a public event that impacted people, etc.

You do not have to know an individual personally to say thanks.

It is unlikely that your thanks will be acknowledged, but you will feel good about letting the person know how much you appreciated their effort.

Because such notes are rare and meaningful, your thanks will not be forgotten and can have a significant impact on the receiver’s life.

The act of saying thank you is all about the other person.

The Benefit of Saying Thank You

Why should you master this art?

In the moment of saying thank you, your full focus is on the other person — it removes you from a self-centered life into one of full focus on another.

This is especially powerful when writing notes. Your own desires are momentarily suspended as you express appreciation for the generosity of another.

In the beautiful words of Oscar Wilde . . .

I used to think gratitude a heavy burden for one to carry. Now I know it is something that makes the heart lighter. The ungrateful man to me seems to be one who walks with feet and heart of lead. But, when once has learnt, however inadequately, what a lovely thing gratitude is, one’s feet go lightly over sand or sea, one finds a strange joy revealed to one, the joy of counting up, not what one possesses, but what one owes.

It doesn’t matter if you have been remiss in practicing this important art, it’s never too late to start.

Say “thank you” every chance you get and the next time someone does something you appreciate, take five minutes and craft a note of gratitude.

Make Someone’s Day (or Several Someone’s)

Showing appreciation costs nothing but is worth millions because it enhances people’s lives, including yours, as the gift giver.

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. — Marcel Proust

Be generous with the gift of appreciation to everyone:

  1. Let your loved ones know how grateful you are to have them in your life. Tell them and show them every day how much you love and appreciate them — starting with two simple words, “thank you.”
  2. Make gratitude part of your essence. Express thanks daily to everyone who shows you kindness.

You will change lives — beginning with your own.

Inspired by Connie Leas beautiful little book, The Art of Thank You — Crafting Notes of Gratitude)

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