The Honest Truth: Gratitude Goals
Someone I respect told me I don’t always do a good job of showing gratitude and don’t say thank you earnestly enough. It just feels uncomfortable and sappy to me. What can I do?
Jill: Can you think of a time when someone thanked you and it didn’t feel sappy? I’ll bet they were straightforward and concise and that the exchange didn’t involve overly long hugs or flowery language. Practice by looking someone in the eye and saying a quick and clear, “Thank you” or “I appreciate you.” Or send a text or even an old fashioned thank you note; you’ll find it’s an easy habit to start. Science tells us expressing gratitude isn’t just about being nice. It has a measurable positive impact on your health and well-being. Thank you for being willing to give it a try.
Beth: Some people gush naturally, but it sounds like that feels cheesy to you. However, in our crazy, busy world, it’s never been more important to slow down and acknowledge others. It’s the greatest gift you can give. Get in the habit of asking yourself, “What just went well, and who can I thank for making it happen?” Then, just do it. Over time, it will get easier. Good luck.
I help my sister out a lot with her kids, and I don’t feel appreciated by her. Should I just say I’m done?
Jill: First, take a deep breath—starting out calm helps a lot with this kind of conversation—and tell your sister you really appreciate appreciation. Then, give her an example: “I know you’re swamped, but it means a lot when you pause to say thanks when I drop off the kids.” This may or may not change your sister’s behavior, but it could help her understand how demotivating it is for you to help her out and get no acknowledgement in return. Sometimes we assume other people just know we appreciate them—your sister might feel that way. Honest and direct communication will remind her that you are not a mind reader. Let us know how it goes.
Beth: You have to determine your real motivation here. Are you trying to spend more time with your nieces and nephews? If so, focus on the satisfaction you get from time with the kiddos—and you might have to overlook your sister’s slightly bratty behavior. If you’re only doing it to help your sister and you’re getting nothing out of it, then your choices are to stop doing it or buck up and have a conversation with her.
Pictured above: Jill Farmer and Beth Chesterton