Vail Daily columnist Linda Stamper Boyne: Express your thanks
Vail, CO Colorado
They are two of the easiest words to say but can also be two of the most difficult. They are words that can make a difference, change attitudes, create relationships. And yet they are tremendously underused.
Some of us use this phrase generously, courteously, automatically. For others, the words rarely cross their lips, whether it be for lack of manners, thoughtlessness, narcissism, entitlement or pride.
But when said with intent and genuine gratitude, they can be two of the most powerful words in the world.
“Thank you” makes you think outside yourself, your life, your agenda, reminding you that there is a whole world out there that doesn’t revolve around you.
The phrase “thank you” is humbling. It forces you to realize and acknowledge that another human being has done something for you.
“Thank you” helps you see the best in others, helps you notice kindness, makes you more aware of the positive things around you.
“Thank you” can start a chain reaction of good will, a verbal “paying
it forward,” if you will. Showing
your appreciation to someone could even be considered a random act of kindness.
Imagine if we all started using the phrase whenever it was warranted. When someone lets you merge in the lift line. When the server places your meal in front of you. When your mother wakes you up in the morning in time to do the rest of your homework or your roommate wakes you when you’ve slept through your alarm. When a co-worker smoothly corrects your mistake and helps you save face. What a polite, pleasant society we would be!
Gratitude is not an innate quality. It’s clearly a learned trait, one so often overlooked and forgotten. Perhaps we just need to be reminded from time to time, hence the autumnal holiday we are about to celebrate.
Think for a moment: Who deserves your thanks? Who should be thanked for what they do, from the smallest act to the complete devotion to a cause or effort?
I posed the questions to a few people and posted that query on Facebook, curious who others felt deserved our thanks.
My friends’ answers ranged from simple and straightforward to lengthy and thoughtful. One simply said, “Barack Obama,” with a laugh. Not sure of the sincerity in that one.
My best friend simply answered, “You!”
“Moms! The reasons are obvious,” came from one of my parents’ friends and an icon from my childhood.
Two friends with whom I grew up hit upon true gratitude with their answers.
From Lori: “Those that have been there through ‘it all.’ Those that stand by you unconditionally, without judgment; could be friends or family. I also believe those that give of themselves should be thanked, whether it is volunteering in the community, donating, anything that is truly giving from the heart. Those are my choices!”
And from Felix: “I’d second what Lori said and add in public school teachers. We’ve seen it firsthand – they’re doing more for less, and it is a thankless job, when our future is in their hands! I try to personally thank my kids’ teachers whenever I get the chance.”
My mom had a little different take: “After my recent battle with breast cancer, the natural thing is to thank the doctors and nurses who made me well again. I do thank them; they were skilled and caring. I have thanked my children and my husband for their concern and love, but you expect your family to care for you. No, the people I want to thank are the 33 people who sent me cards urging me to get better and saying they were praying for me. I want to thank the friends who called and gave me presents and e-mailed jokes. The acquaintances who stopped me in the grocery store to see how I was doing. Even Cindy, the barista in our coffee shop, made sure I was OK. All these people who took a few minutes to make me feel special, I thank you.”
So this Thanksgiving, take that moment not just to think about what you are thankful for but to take the next step and find a way to express your gratitude to someone who deserves it. It’s your turn to make a difference.
Linda Stamper Boyne, of Edwards, can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org.
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