Have you ever gone out of your way to do something nice for someone and not been thanked? How did that feel?
Conversely, how do you feel when someone lets you know that they both notice and appreciate your help?
Stop reading for a few seconds and conjure up those feelings. Pull back that slightly bitter sensation that you went out of your way for someone who didn’t even let you know they noticed.
And now, remember the little sweet glow you felt when someone let you know she appreciated the good thing you did.
Big difference. Right?
The True Power of Gratitude
I recently gave a generous gift to a project run by a friend. I know she noticed, as my gift was among the largest. And I know that she’s grateful.
But she didn’t take the time or think enough about my generosity to call or send an email or even say thank you personally when we met.
Why? Because she’s so tied up in her own busy world that she didn’t stop to think about how I might feel.
I understand. But really, the next time she asks for a gift, I might think twice.
The Discipline of Gratitude
Discipline and gratitude might seem like a funny pairing, but I think they work together.
My friend is grateful. I know that even if she doesn’t tell me so. But she lacks the discipline to let me know. She takes my generosity for granted. And I’m left with a slightly bitter feeling rather than the sweet sensation a little thank you email would have evoked.
All it would have taken was something personal and simple. “Got your amazing gift, Andrea. Thank’s so very much.”
Gratitude Takes Practice
I try to practice gratitude. It takes being aware of what people do for me. It takes paying more attention to people who go out of their way. And it requires that I don’t take much of anything for granted.
In truth, it’s hard to stay so aware of the great things people do and then to make the time to let them know. I’m sure I still miss many opportunities to thank people. But I try every day. And over time, I think that I’ve gotten better at it.
Saying Thank You is Easy — Noticing is Hard
It’s easy and fun say thank you to people for doing nice things. What’s harder is noticing all of those great things that people do for you.
To notice requires getting out of your own head, out of your own little world and opening up to someone else’s. A sort of blurring the lines between yourself and others — opening rather than closing yourself.
Noticing other people for the good things they do requires a generosity of spirit. And that’s well worth practicing.
Notice the Good Things People Do for You
Every day this week, notice something someone has done for you — a nice gesture, a job well done, a smile or greeting. And then take the time to thank them for it.
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