449 views

(88/366) Thank You!

(88/366) Thank You

March 28, 2012 – I was thinking about this as I came into my office this morning. Do we say “Thank you” enough, and to the right people? Do we reserve our thanks for the obvious recipients and disregard the less than obvious ones? And do we just throw a “Thank you” out there as a social obligation, or do we really stop and think about it, and mean it?

I rode my scooter in to work today and parked in my secret spot, under the smiling face of the parking lot attendant who lets me park there, and who is within 20 feet of my scooter all day long. I appreciate that I am allowed to park for free, and I appreciate that my scooter is always within visual range of one of two attendants who know who it belongs to. So I parked, wished the morning attendant a good day, and headed off down the block. When I got in, I did a quick change and popped back out to the Starbuck’s that lies halfway in between and bought two gift cards – one for the morning attendant and one for the afternoon attendant.

Call it a bribe if you like, certainly it will go a long way to ensure that I am allowed to continue to park where I do, but at the same time I truly really do appreciate the concession since in no way do they have to let me put my scooter where I do. The two men are generous and very friendly towards me on my little scoot. I choose to cultivate that rather than assume some entitlement. Both men were quite surprised and the morning attendant tried to refuse it, but I insisted and he accepted with a huge smile.

And I think that is a real problem in society. We forget that many people do things that they don’t have to do, and sometimes we forget to show an appropriate level of appreciation. In many corners of the world Canadians are considered very polite and extremely “nice”. But are we really? And sometimes that perception coupled with what I think is the reality makes me think “Wow, if that’s true, what does it say about the rest of the world?” Maybe we are nice in some ways. But I know that many of us aren’t in other aspects. I used to work in the service industry, and I can tell you that Canadians are a darned cheap lot. An acceptable base tip in most parts of the world is 20%, yet here too many people seem to think 10% is acceptable. No, for the most part that’s a cheap insult, it’s not being nice to the person who is serving you, be he or she cutting your hair, serving your drink, or taking your food order. We used to hang out at a pub/restaurant and were comped a lot of drinks and sometimes food items. When the bill came and we’d see the comp, we’d usually throw the value of the item in as a tip, on top of whatever tip we were giving. Sometimes the bill would end up at $15 and we’d give a $20 tip. It’s a way to show appreciation and say “Thank You”!

Do you say thank you to the bus driver who waits for you? What about the person who lets you go first at a four way stop, or who lets you squeeze into a line of traffic waiting for a light to turn. Do you thank the person who bags your groceries? Or do you ignore them and feel that because it is their job that they don’t deserve the simple courtesy of a thank you?

Do you thank the people who challenge your ideas? Or do you just get mad? I have been putting a lot of effort into helping out with some workshops lately. I don’t have to do it, and I even gave up a few Saturdays to do it. I do get paid, but that’s not why I’ve been doing it. Rather I’ve wanted to ensure that the messaging with respect to the important bits that the facilitator isn’t knowledgeable in, are covered and people’s questions are answered. Saturday and today I was openly challenged, aggressively, in front of a room full of people. It was a great opportunity to educate and I was thankful that the challenges were laid. At then end of both workshops, the individual in question came up to me and both apologised and thanked me for information that addressed their concerns. And I, in turn, thanked them for asking what others were probably thinking, and for thinking about the issues in the first place. Mutual respect based on such simple words and actions.

But don’t forget your friends either. Who hasn’t gone out for lunch with a friend and had them pick up the tab. And of course you said “Thank You”, but did you make an effort to remember and pick up the next one? It often seems that the people closest to us are the ones we fail to thank. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for being my husband. Thank you for taking out the trash, thank you for making dinner, thank you for doing the laundry, thank you for feeding the pets, thank you for making the bed, thank you for holding the door open for me, thank you for checking the air in my tires when I forget to think about it, thank you for making sure I remember to take my phone to work, thank you for cleaning the litter box every morning, thank you for remembering which wine glass is mine (even though I maintain that mine is always the fuller one), thank you for being there.

And thank you everyone in Flicker and Facebook lands for commenting on my photos and my ramblings. I appreciate it very much.

449 views

17 Comments

  1. i_still_believe_in_u03-29-2012

    Added this photo to their favorites

  2. (88/366) Thank YouIntriguing thoughts. I think as a society we tend to thank the less deserving, or maybe forget to thank the equally deserving, less prominent people. As individuals though, we can choose to not act that way. We can choose to recognize each persons importance.

    Fun photo. =)

  3. Marne Birch03-28-2012

    And you’re welcome. :)

  4. Marne Birch03-28-2012

    Whoops, meant to add more. Now that I work in the service industry, I am shocked at how rude some people can be just because I work in a minimum wage job. Thankfully the ones who do appreciate my help make up for the rude ones. :)

  5. Paige Ackerman03-28-2012

    See? This is what I’m talking about.

  6. Thank you, Paige!

  7. (88/366) Thank You[http://www.flickr.com/photos/-verve-] Agreed! Sometimes it seems that we (as society) are so busy racing on to the next "thing", driving to achieve some some of personal fulfilment, that we neglect to appreciate that others are too.

    Thank you for the thoughtful comment.

  8. Flickr: tedicken03-29-2012

    (88/366) Thank YouNice concept. And most people do not.

  9. Paige Ackerman03-28-2012

    My pleasure Elizabeth, glad to have been able to help you out, even if you couldn’t come to my class.

  10. (88/366) Thank YouThanks for sharing this.

  11. Brenda Guiled03-29-2012

    You're so right, Paige. "Thank you" starts with gratitude, a really nice feeling inside that – as I'm wont to say – can be the constant that holds life together. Love, beauty, shining health, etc. all have their ups and downs and seem to go missing at times, leaving not much other than warm thank yous inside for all that's working for us, however small. We're in this stupid corporate culture that wants us to focus on what we don't have and would be happier if we got/did/met. Too bad it blinds us to the very things you wisely see and have pointed out. Blessings!
    PS: I'm the product of a mom who couldn't hang onto gratitude and find thank yous in every day. In my 50+ years of experience, this difficulty was key to her hypochondria, depression, and suicide.

    • Paige Ackerman03-30-2012

      Thank you for your thoughts Brenda. The world is a funny place if we have to think that happiness and fulfilment can be acquired by focusing on what we don't have, what we haven't managed to achieve, instead of appreciating what we are.

      When I was in Brazil on a boat on the Amazon for a week, that hit me between the eyes like a hammer. I saw people, in absolute poverty, with next to nothing, and they held a warmth and happiness that was overwhelming. Their happiness came from community, and from what appeared to be (as you point out) a fundamental internal gratitude. I watched a soccer game, in a pitch carved out of the jungle, with fire ants in the grass (and they hurt!!), played by young men without shoes. The joy in the players and those watching in the small village was humbling. So much happiness with so little material.

      Why must we assume that happiness will come from more?

    • Brenda Guiled03-30-2012

      Beautiful story and realization (i.e. making real), Paige. I focus on karate and particularly the inner dance of it as a surefire tap to joy, hence gratitude. Also, hand-drumming from West Africa – pure genius, their rhythms. These things come from places that knew the deepest material poverty through long years, yet when all they had was their (at times, barely surviving) bodies, they created unique, brilliant, joyful ways of being with their arts, which in turn creates rich cultural lives.

    • Paige Ackerman03-31-2012

      “I believe all suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction. Yet true happiness comes from a sense of inner peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, of love and compassion and elimination of ignorance, selfishness and greed.” ~Dalai Lama XIV

      Something we could all learn to strive towards.

    • Brenda Guiled03-31-2012

      Hope you don't mind if I keep this thread going. It's such a vital topic, and I so appreciate you opening it.
      True happiness is, I think, deeper than the "life, liberty, and the pursuit …" etc. kind that Americans and its imitators chase. Which is to say that the common understanding of happiness is surficial and needs/quest oriented.
      The Dalai Llama XIV nails it, but twins it with peace and contentment only, without mentioning joy. Gratitude and joy are inextricably linked, and I find that so many people are hungry for pure, simple joy from reliable inner fires. How to access that? Stoke it? There are so many ways, and it's so great when people like you speak up and out about counting small blessings as a sure-fire way to tap it.

    • Paige Ackerman04-01-2012

      Not at all. And yes, total agreement on the superficial happiness associated with needs/quests. It's like a dog chasing its tail. If happiness is associated with a goal, it will probably never be reached. I think happiness is a great deal more than a goal, than acquiring something/some state/some change. Too many people are looking for that next opportunity, trying to find change, trying to get what they "want", when what is important is not so tangible.

      Interesting comment – Joy – I think that few people really know what joy is and think it and happiness are the same.

      Linked with gratitude…yes, but I had never thought of that particular connection before. When I think of the moments that I can put a finger on when I truly felt joy, they were special – the wedding is a good example. And absolutely, it was fully stoked with gratitude that I was so gifted with this wonderful person who had already shared more than half my life with me.

      Thank you for making that observation and connection for me.

  12. Brenda Guiled03-29-2012

    You’re so right, Paige. “Thank you” starts with gratitude, a really nice feeling inside that – as I’m wont to say – can be the constant that holds life together. Love, beauty, shining health, etc. all have their ups and downs and seem to go missing at times, leaving not much other than warm thank yous inside for all that’s working for us, however small. We’re in this stupid corporate culture that wants us to focus on what we don’t have and would be happier if we got/did/met. Too bad it blinds us to the very things you wisely see and have pointed out. Blessings!
    PS: I’m the product of a mom who couldn’t hang onto gratitude and find thank yous in every day. In my 50+ years of experience, this difficulty was key to her hypochondria, depression, and suicide.