Hey, thanks for reading this post! No, I really mean it, thank you. There are so many things you could be doing so it really means something to me that you are here. I know, I sometimes get bogged down in stats and see only raw numbers while forgetting that those numbers are really people; that the numbers represent thinking and feeling beings who have made the choice to spend some of their valuable time with me. So, Thank You!
We say “thank you” all of the time, but how often do we really mean it? When the clerk at the store gives you the receipt and says, “Have a good day”, do you really mean that “Thank you”? When you sign your work emails with a “thanks” (perhaps 90% of the emails I send and receive have that), are you truly grateful to the recipient?
Real gratitude takes effort.
To be grateful there has to be some degree of humbleness. One has to truly understand that they could not have done it, whatever “it” is, by themselves. This for everyone. If I am your boss and honestly say “Thank you”, I am saying that despite the org chart, I am no better than you and in this matter you are ahead and have helped me. To be grateful we must all be equal and understand that no matter how much wealth you were born into, how intelligent you are, how physically strong and how emotionally stable, nobody can handle life by themselves. We all need that helping hand, the arm on our shoulder, the caring smile. Nobody, absolutely nobody, cannot do it on their own. And for those of us who are not an ultra-wealthy super genius with an Olympian physique and angelic emotional state, we need a lot of help! All of the time! We cannot do it on our own. We have to understand this, to be humble, to be truly grateful.
Besides being humble, we need to be have empathy. I know that sounds strange. Usually we think of empathy as something someone feels towards someone less fortunate, yet it also means we are able to put ourselves in another human’s shoes. To really feel gratitude, we have to understand that the other person did give freely of themselves. We understand tht there is some sacrifice, no matter how small, in the other’s actions. It may seem I am stressing this too much, but we really need to feel it. It is so easy to take others for granted. Well, of course they did it, why wouldn’t they? They are a professional, a relative, a friend, a (fill in the blank). It doesn’t matter, we just need to understand that they did help us. We need to feel for them. That is empathy as much as feeling for a person who had a mishap, as is feeling happy when something good happens to someone. Feeling for others. You can’t feel grateful if you don’t feel for others.
We do need to feel grateful for things great and small. It binds people together. We are all in this together and the only way to move forward is to help each other. When we do these little things, everyone benefits. When we feel grateful, and express it, tell the one who made you feel grateful about it, tell others, it multiplies the original good.
Of course being grateful goes beyond people. Most are grateful to God (or some being in their religion). People are grateful for circumstances. Often, the worse circumstances we’ve seen, the more grateful we are. I’m grateful for my health. If I’m sick, I’m grateful for the sunny day. It’s raining? I’m grateful for the beautiful Earth and the variety of weather. A tornado is bearing down on my house and there’s no escape? I’m grateful for life, no matter how fleeting. I know that is silly, but we need to be grateful for the world around us and not take it for granted.
I’ll leave it for others to write about being grateful for a deity, life, the universe and circumstances. But in these cases what I said above is still true. We do have to be humble and have some empathy, yes, empathy for unfeeling nature, empathy for things that transcend emotion, like the current state of the Universe. I just think it is funny that people usually say how grateful they are for these more abstract things more often than they do for other people. In ways, it is being grateful for others that is important.
So today, stop yourself every time you unthinking say “Thank you” and do think about it. Recognize the humanity in the other person. Recognize that no matter how small it is, that person really is doing something for you that you can’t do for yourself. Sure, you can go through a self-checkout, swipe your own items and pay for them. But you didn’t and this person helped you. In this day of unfeeling computer transactions, random acts of violence and extreme splits in political thought, we need to come together as people more than ever. We need to reach out that hand. We need to truly and deeply feel grateful for the people around us.
So thank you! I feel extremely grateful that you actually read my words!
This post is part of the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. I’ve had a personal vision of compassion that I’ve been sharing on most of my posts on the subject:
Empathy is the glue that holds society together and compassion is what makes a group of people a civilization. Without holding our hands out to our fellow humans we become savages. We are all in this together, in a closed system, so we must all help each other. How lonely life must be for those selfish people who don’t realize this simple truth! How lonely for anyone who doesn’t realize that all are our brothers and sisters! How lonely must the self-righteous be!
Find out more about this movement. See the 1000 Voices Speak blogsite and the Facebook page. And add your voice to our 1000 voices all speaking about compassion! To see more for this month or add your post, see the “Linky”