One of my goals in March is to say “thank you” to at least three people every day. This is part of my Ultimate Mom Challenge to be a GRATEFUL mom this month. One week into this goal, I’ve already learned a few things.
Saying Thank You and Meaning It Can Be Two VERY Different Things
First, I’ve learned I say “thank you” all the time. Maybe 25 times a day, and for both genuine and impervious reasons. When someone holds a door open for me, when the cashier hands me back my change, and when I’m signing off on all of my emails, I include a “thank you.” But the truth is most of these thanks are meaningless. There are no feelings of gratitude behind them. They’re just simple responses I say to everyone, without feeling or emotion. In fact, sometimes I say them less than half-heartedly. And at times when someone is being rude and frustratingly difficult, I find myself saying thanks with a tone of condensation.
It turns out, I’ve been saying “thanks” wrong all this time! Wow.
What have the words “thank you” become in our society? The meaning feels lost in a lot of cases. Perhaps it’s because it’s become so overused. So instead of just striving to say the words “thank you” three times each day, my goal quickly has evolved into saying it, thinking it, and genuinely feeling it when I do. And you know what? It feels amazing. It’s an entirely different experience! And the recipient feels the difference, too. The power that this change makes for these two words must be experienced to be fully understood.
Something else I learned? This change is hard to implement. It’s changing a habit I’ve been practicing for years and years. Suddenly shifting my nonchalant “thank you’s” to heartfelt gratitude takes work, and most of the days since I’ve started this challenge I’ve laid down in bed at night very aware I did not hit my three “thank you’s” a day goal.
So my continued goal and my challenge to you is to try this. I’m shooting for three a day, but perhaps you can just try it once today and see what I mean by how different the words feel when you put your heart into it. You will make someone’s day!
Three tips for offering a genuine, heartfelt thank you:
- Make direct eye contact when you say it.
- Flash those teeth. Don’t Mona Lisa the smile; show a true, empowering smile.
- Say it with conviction. Let the depth of your thanks be audible in the way you say it. So don’t whisper it, don’t shrug it off. Say it so the recipient hears and feels how much you mean it.
It seems so simple. How have I been doing this so wrong all this time?