Hello to all you wonderful friends! In the past few weeks we have been focusing on expressing gratitude for the things in our lives. The good and the difficult. Recognizing and enunciating the challenges we are facing and giving them space.
Today, I want to discuss expressing thanks to people – people who have been kind to us. Personally, I don’t have a challenge recognizing and conveying gratitude to someone who has done me a large favor. It is easy to be cognizant of it and the thanks flow naturally. It takes extra effort, though, to look for and appreciate the smaller kindnesses that we benefit from. Surprise someone and articulate your genuine appreciation for a little thing. Not with just a pro forma “Thank you.” But delve into it and elaborate on how much this act meant to you.
I learned this 17 years ago from my husband’s good friend, Brian. He is always gracious and appreciative to those around him. In a restaurant he will compliment the waiter. Checking out in a store he is sure to note his thanks. He will graciously express his thanks to an airline stewardess for having brought him a glass of water.
Communicating gratitude to someone who doesn’t expect it has a great impact. The recipient of this extreme thank you is caught off guard and thinks, “Wow, did I do something so big?” It makes them feel noticed, appreciated, valued and that appreciation brings excitement to their eyes, souls and energy. This then bounces off to the rest of the world. It has a ripple effect. Likely they will do it for others. This energy will bounce back to you and you will want to do it again and again and again. Eventually you will become a fountain of gratitude just overflowing with thanks.
It has to be a genuine expression of gratitude, not just, “Oh, I’ll say something nice to make them feel good.” You need to recognize the good that you received and feel the gratitude and then express it.
Look for the good that others do for you. I want to share an example of this. I recently was flying with my two daughters to Miami. I like doing curbside check-in. It makes my life easier and easy is good by me. To be able to do that one needs to check in no later than one hour before takeoff. I arrived on the line for curbside check-in with one hour and one minute. Fishing around in my bag for my license the man behind the counter urged me to hurry. By the time I handed it to him, the computer shut down. “I’m so sorry but I can’t do it anymore. You’ll have to do it inside, There you can do it until 45 minutes before takeoff.”
I thanked him and made my way inside with my daughters. Anxiety was beginning to make itself heard in my head. I looked for the correct line and a woman guided me and toldells me that I may not make it in time to check in my luggage. “What about getting on to the next flight if I can’t make it on time?” I queried her. “No, that has to be done online.”
My anxiety climbed up several notches . There were six people ahead of me. One by one I asked them if they were in a hurry and would they mind if I went ahead of them. All of them were due to leave in an hour. I was really uptight and not sure what I was going to do with my luggage.
One of the women behind the checkout counter saw how I was going from anxious to desperate and she announced, ”Anyone going to L.A. or Florida?” I raced over to her calling loudly, “Yes, that’s me1” She waved me over and started processing things. “Will I still be able to check in my luggage? Is there still enough time? It’s already fifty minutes before takeoff!”
“No problem. I’m checking your luggage through right now.”
“Oh, my gosh. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You saved me! I am so grateful to you! You saved me. What is your name. I want to send a letter to Delta telling them I am so grateful they have people like you behind the counter.”
She looked at me and said, “Thank you for doing that! Usually I get complaints and everyone is nervous and frustrated and they let it out on me, when I really am not responsible for the rules. It’s so nice of you to be so kind and gracious.”
“What do you mean?! You helped me. You got my luggage on the flight!’
“Most people don’t realize that we are just following the rules and trying to do our job. They let out all their worries on us. It’s so rare to get a thank you.”
“If I could check in with you every time, I would do it. You are my new angel.”
She started laughing and we made a joke.
“G-d bless you. And have a great trip.”
We started the ripple effect of positive energy. I’m sure she went home feeling so uplifted. I boarded without a shred of the nerves or anxiety that had crept up just a short time ago. I was in a great mood. It all came about because I enunciated my gratitude.
So, I would like to give you a task for this week. Try to give thanks – in an authentic way – to the person who least expects it. Explain in detail what was so nice/helpful that they did for you. Notice how it works and then share with us what the reactions were; yours and theirs.
Thank you for being part of Hope to Recharge!