Saturday, August 3, 2013

Thank you matters

Ever really stop and think about who you have said thank you today? The pressures of our modern society can totally rob of of us multiple opportunities to make someone feel special. Think about how many times you are in and out of stores each day? Think about how many times you actually say thank you for the service you receive? Do you take the time before you run out of the store/restaurant/government facility?

Not a standard vacant muttering because it's just what you say. But a thank you and a conscious and genuine one?

Think about the person who waved you ahead at a crossing even though it was there turn to go.DO you smile? Do you wave?

I'm not saying overdo it. Don't become their best friend, but give a person the time to feel appreciated.Often negative exchanges in our world happen from inpatience. Consider traffic. I need not say more.

If you have a smart phone put it down when you're in line at the grocery store and look the cashier in the eye.
We aren't paying attention to the world around us as a whole. For the most part modern society works pretty well. Yet with a never-ending trail of people receiving demands and people trying to fill them...there are so many interactions. Many of them are halting, and many of them are filled with only lists, only demands and no thank yous. 

What is the difference when people have critical awareness about others? What if the constant monologue going on inside your head took a break long enough to look at the other person and give them something positve- even if you feel the pull of your own frustrations. 

A few months ago I was reading an excerpt from a graduation speech by David Foster Wallace. He talked about the imprisonment we are in with daily life and routines. It was called 'This is Water'. It went around like wild-fire on Youtube when it was condensed by a fan and made into a visually appealing video. It has since been yanked. But the point was that we are unconsciously creating a status quo of 'me' by listening only to our own voice inside our head. 

Stopping to consider the other person in every daily exchange we have is hard. It goes against the grain of what's going on around us.  Positive exchanges are applauded in our society but not reinforced by daily routines. Most people think they do enough stopping, but they don't. They go back to their default setting which continues the 'dialogue of me' which consists of what do I need. But what if we asked ourselves mentally what another person needs?

Selfishness is speaking louder than selflessness in our society. I have been guilty of being inpatient because of the stress I carry with me. I have been guilty of tuning out and sliding back into the own hum of my mental dialogue. But the minute I have slowed down, it's brought me back to center. All of us need constant reminders. Sometimes the only person to remind us is ourselves...and that involves changing the way we think and operate. Changing our 'default setting'.

The choice of how you think is up to you. Wallace described conscious and 'in the present' exchanges as being life altering. What if we looked at thank you as more than just platitude but something that had actual human value? That it might just produce positive change?

Upon receiving this link to a Ted Talk link...I realized it's saying essentially saying in a simpler way than Wallace. It's giving us an action piece that may seem so basic. But it's simplicity is it's beauty.

 Be present for another person and here is why thank you matters.

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