When certain actions become daily tendencies, we as humans categorize them under ‘everyday routines.’ Things as simple as brushing your teeth, eating at certain times throughout the day (also known as breakfast, lunch and dinner) or going to school or work become like clockwork- things that become so frequent, they come to be ingrained in our minds so profoundly that we claim we can do them “with our eyes closed.”
For instance, when I first started driving long-distances I was terrified of getting lost. My anxiety would shoot up anytime my GPS recalculated the directions or I missed my turn. Finally, after a few drives on the same commute, it became as easy as navigating my way around my own home. Rather than critically analyzing where I must take my next turn, the action became automatic.
Take a minute. Sit down and reflect on where you are today and how you got there. Now, you’re probably wondering why my mediocre driving skills have anything to do with gratitude. Well, it was just an example to show that after living life, or experiencing something for so long, we forget to acknowledge how grateful we were to experience it from the start. And when you forget to see the progress you’ve made yourself, you can sometimes forget to recognize the effort others have made as well.
If you’re a child, teen, or young adult and are still supported by one or both of your parents or guardian, when was the last time you said thank you? If you are a parent or guardian yourself, when was last time you expressed your appreciation of something your child accomplished, be it a chore, a good grade, or difficult task? Have you ever gone up to a policeman, fireman, medical practitioner, or veteran and said thank you for their service? What about the relative who takes you to and from school, or the bus driver who’s lugging around a gargantuan yellow vehicle full of rowdy kids? What about the waitress who’s working long hour shifts and sometimes gets jipped on her tips? Or the host, juggling both school and work, trying to make a little income to support himself? Or is it that you are or were once one of the individuals trying to afford materials in your struggling college years? Didn’t you want a simple thank you once in a while for the effort you put into what you did or still do?
If you have vocalized your gratitude, that’s spectacular! Keep up the kindness!
If you haven’t, that’s okay too! Even I realize I haven’t done half these things until now. Practice what you preach right?
It will really astonish you the difference opening your eyes a little wider will make. Know that amazing and heartwarming feeling you get when someone unexpectedly praises you for something? It makes you feel this rush of jubilance and pride for yourself. It’s confidence. And confidence is something a vast amount of people lack these days. So pass that tender feeling onto someone else. We may not be required to show gratitude to others, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. It means we should defy what society thinks of human nature and acknowledge the kindness that actually comprises someone’s being.
You never know who’s day you’ll make, or what frown will morph into a smile from two simple and very easy words: Thank you.
Never stop realizing what others have done and are doing for you, and appreciate what they give. Show a little extra love once in a while to acknowledge your understanding of others’ kindnesses. Because one day, when someone surprises you and says thank you for something you’ve done, you’ll find there’s a smile on your face and a little more warmth in your heart.
-Kiran Bains Sahota