The hardest lesson for me to learn is how to be grateful and display gratefulness. When I was growing up I would constantly have arguments with my mother over Thank You Notes. Back then I couldn’t understand why purchasing a blank card, writing a few words, putting it into an envelope, addressing the envelope, purchasing postage and mailing the note had more impact than simply saying “Thank You”. The entire concept seemed “old world” and entirely unnecessary. To be fair, much of that time I wasn’t very grateful for the things I had been given. I was selfish and a little narcissistic so somehow I came to believe that I deserved, earned or should have everything I was given. What can I say, I was a child. To be fair I was a child well into my adult life.
But when I became a man, I put away childish things.
It is hard to express but easy to experience how thankless being an adult is. Being married can be more thankless (which is a cause for many divorces) and being a parent is a whole other world of thankless. In the life of an adult you can be working toward the benefit of countless people, outside yourself, and none of them express the least bit of appreciation for what you do.
Companies express their appreciation with a paycheck, but that doesn’t really work if a co-worker who does more or less than you makes the same amount you do. It’s not personal appreciation. It’s much less so when someone who does less work than you gets paid more. That approaches no appreciation.
As a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife, your partner almost never looks at you as the person you were before. They can’t appreciate what you give up every day to be with them, be loyal to them, be available to them, be loving with them. Often they don’t appreciate the nice things you do because they are wrapped up in holiday traditions, or suspicion of wrongdoing, or being compared to something someone else did. Short of having “quality time” together, appreciation can be hard to find.
As a parent, you might as well just abandon hope of being fully-appreciated until your children become parents. A child has no means to understand what you do for them, what you give up for them, how you love them and what that love does to you. Even as they grow older and mature, it’s not something that can be duplicated anywhere else. It takes them walking a couple of miles in your shoes for them to fully appreciate what you have done and continue to do for them.
Is it any wonder why people go through life with damaged self-esteem, poor ego, and bitterness?
It doesn’t have to be that way! The simple and genuine act of showing appreciation can make all the difference in the world. In the Information Age, everything is disposable, intangible, and gone before you know it. That is why something as basic as a Thank You Note can make a world of difference in your life and the people around you. The article that I reference (Inc.com‘s How to Write a Thank-You Note That Matters) will go into the basics of writing a simple but powerful Thank You note. Their purpose is to show you how Thank You notes can be a winning tool in business. My purpose is to let you know they are a winning tool in life.
UPDATE: I just came across a great example of this today and wanted to share with you…
Greg Jennings thanks Packers fans
- Teach Your Child to Show Appreciation this Valentine’s Day (education.com)
- What If Today We Were More Grateful? (fullcatastropheliving.wordpress.com)
- Thank You AND Recognition Is Never Ever Unappreciated (dfolstad58.wordpress.com)
- Expressing Gratitude to God , June 14, 2012 (nalonmit.wordpress.com)
- 7 Things Happy People Do – They Are Grateful for What They’ve Got (Part 7 of 7) (janetpoole.com)
- Thank Your Employees in Just 8 Words (inc.com)