My son and I were reading a book about a boy and his teacher when my son turned to me and said, “Who was your favorite teacher?” The answer was easy–Ms. Cherpas. She taught my honors English class, and she was my cheerleader from the first class. When she found out I was writing a novel in my free time, she offered to read and critique chapters for me.
She inspired me to become a teacher.
I had thought of her frequently over the years, so that night I decided to look for her on the Internet. My son sat excitedly behind me, but our search was short-lived. A quick Web search turned up her obituary. She had died just 5 months earlier; she was only in her early 60s.
I had wanted to tell her thank you for years, but I never did. I was afraid she wouldn't remember me. I was too busy with my own life. I let the years slip away, and now my chance to thank her is gone.
The Power Of A Simple Thank You
We're often self-involved, worried about our own life and our own situation. If you have debt that you're trying to kill with gazelle intensity, that may be your sole focus. If you're struggling to even pay your bills, you may feel miserable, depressed and hopeless.
Expressing thanks to someone takes you outside yourself and your problems. You focus on someone else instead. And somehow, after expressing thanks, you feel better.
John Kralik, the author of 365 Thank Yous, found himself at age 53, going through a second divorce. His current girlfriend had just broke up with him, and he was 40 pounds overweight. His children were distant from him, and his law firm was failing. Seemingly everything that could go wrong did.
When he went for a hike alone and got lost, he took a break on a rock. Then he heard a voice that said, “Until you learn to be grateful for the things you have, you will not receive the things you want.” Shortly thereafter, he wrote his son a thank you note for his Christmas present. He wrote a thank you every day, and from the start, the thank yous seemed to bring good things back into his life.
Humans Connecting With One Another
Sometimes watching the news can be difficult. There are wars, cruelties, school shootings like the horrible one at Sandy Hook. Sometimes it can feel like there is no good in the world.
But in the face of the tragedies, there are always stories about the good in the world. In the wake of Sandy Hook, people started doing 26 random acts of kindness for the 26 victims killed at the school.
Just recently, depressed by the devastation caused by the Moore, Oklahoma tornado, Peter benefited from a random act of kindness from the person ahead of him at the Caribou Coffee check out.
Thank yous are an excellent way to complete the circle from acts of kindness we receive from others. If you can't thank the giver personally, you can return the favor for another stranger.
Of course, you don't start thanking those in your life because you're expecting good things in return. However, if you take the time to thank and appreciate others, to show your gratitude, to become immersed in the human experience, you just might see your life improve.
According to Guidepost, “Research shows that grateful people are happier and more likely to maintain good friendships. A state of gratitude, according to research by the Institute of HeartMath, also improves the heart's rhythmic functioning, which helps us to reduce stress, think more clearly under pressure and heal physically.”
When John Kralik was experiencing his financial and personal rock bottom, he chose to look outside himself and reach out to others with the simple act of offering a thank you. In return, his outlook and his situation dramatically improved.
Have you see the power of saying thank you in your own life?