Have you ever been in a situation where someone has done something for you and you didn’t offer a thank-you? Have you ever been the person who did something for someone else, but they didn’t say thank you? If so, let’s talk about how that feels.
I think the first step is understanding why we don’t feel comfortable with gratitude. It’s not because we’re bad people; I think it’s just because we’re human beings who get distracted by other things. Maybe there are other problems going on in our lives or maybe we just forget to say thank-you because we’re so focused on other things. But even if there isn’t anything else going on in my life right now (which there usually is), I’ve still found myself forgetting to say thank-you sometimes.
It can also be very uncomfortable for people when someone does something for them without being thanked. It feels awful, doesn’t it? And it’s not just because we’re not getting our cookies. It’s because we’re not doing what’s right by those around us—and by ourselves, too. It causes us to feel taken advantage of or used. On the flip side, if we don’t get thanked for something we’ve done for another person, it makes us feel like our kindness was meaningless and unappreciated.
But here’s the thing: expressing gratitude has nothing to do with getting credit for being nice; it’s just part of being a good human.
Gratitude is a sign of maturity, not weakness.
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It’s okay to say thank you for things that people have done for you, or even just for things that have happened in your life that are good—even if they weren’t something you did yourself! We don’t have to take credit for everything that happens in our lives, and we shouldn’t feel bad when we’re happy about something that other people did.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be recognized for being generous and kind, but I am saying that you should never feel like your generosity is dependent on other people knowing about it. In fact, if you’re doing something nice for someone else, and they don’t even realize it—that’s better! Because then they can be genuinely surprised when they find out what you did for them later on.