As I continue this post series inspired by The ABC's of Life wall hanging pictured above, I am again struck by both the simplicity of the concept and the apparent difficulty many of us have with living out these powerful thoughts.
Today's thought is to express thanks.
It's not really that hard to do. Or is it?
When we are tired, thinking about other things, or feeling awkward, we can overlook the idea of expressing thanks. I'm not talking about thinking thankful thoughts or giving someone a quick nod of acknowledgment. I'm talking about actually saying the words thank-you. For example:
- When my wife fixes dinner, do I always say thanks?
- When my daughter gets me a cup of coffee in the morning, do I always say thanks?
- When my colleagues and co-workers do something to help, do I always say thanks?
- When my neighbor cuts a bit of the grass in my yard when they are doing theirs, do I always say thanks?
- When a stranger waits a moment to hold the door for me, do I always say thanks?
Sadly, the answer to all of these is: no.
I think I do a fairly good job of expressing thanks, and today's thought reminds me that I could do better. I know that I have missed opportunities to thank people in my life.
Some of them, I have mentioned above, and there are others. There are mentors, old friends, and family members who have done acts of kindness and service for me that I have not fully and properly acknowledged with a spoken thanks. I'm getting better as I mature, and I still have some catching up to do.
It's not too late.
For example, a few weeks ago I thought of something a friend of mind did for me in high school, and I had never thanked her for it. We were friendly in high school, but not really close friends. She was pretty, popular, and very outgoing (at least that's how I remember her). I was geeky, awkward, and terribly shy around girls (that's how I remember me).
One day in the gym she stepped in to stop some people from slapping the sunburn on my back. Because of my embarrassment and shyness, I never thanked her. I appreciated what she did. I just didn't say anything about it.
When I remembered again, I found her on facebook, and I sent a thank-you message thirty-something years after the event. Based on her reaction, I'm guessing it was a pleasant surprise to her. As I suspected, she had not remembered the event. It was a small event out of four years of high school. There was no reason for her to remember.
It was important, though, to let her know that I had remembered, and that her kindness made a difference for someone. In the end, it cost me almost nothing, and it was encouraging to her. I would call that a great return on investment. I am really happy that I remembered the event and that I took action on the memory.
Has anyone ever done something for you that you haven't yet thanked them for? If the answer is yes, find them and thank them. You will both be glad that you did.