‘Thank you’ is one of the first phrases we teach our children (together with ‘please’, obviously). Yet, lately, despite the hundreds of articles I see advocating the practice of self-gratitude (i.e. making gratitude lists at the beginning/end of the day, noting everything for which you’re grateful in your gratitude journal or the benefits of ‘living in a constant state of gratitude’), I have noticed an unmistakable decline in its use.
I’ve debated this phenomenon with friends, as over the past 12 months, and while most agree with my observations, their comments on my exasperation have been varied:
“Are you helping/doing things for others just for the recognition or because it’s the right thing to do?”
“Are you judging people based on your values?”
“That’s just life. People are selfish and only interested in what’s in it for them.”
“People are busy, it doesn’t mean they are ungrateful.”
Maybe it is a values thing. I was brought up to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and that it was rude not to. I was consistently told, “No-one has to do anything for you, so when they do, you thank them”.
Don’t misunderstand me, I won’t ever stop going over and above for others, that’s part of who I am. However, it seems that I need to adjust my expectations and, in the words of one of my good friends, when I’m not thanked, to ‘suck it up, buttercup!’
I do, however, think it’s ironic that self-gratitude is advocated so widely and yet, thanking others no longer seems to be important.
Please don’t take this post as a rant, it’s not. It is merely my observation. Perhaps you’ve noticed the opposite. Either way, I find it quite fascinating!