Psychologists claim that being able to tell people what you "want" is key to healthy relationships. One article quoted Sigmund Freud as saying, “Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”
Another article claimed that “I am” are the two most important words because “whatever you put after them will determine your reality.”
A third claimed that in the face of the certain failures, disappointments, or hardships we will undoubtedly face, we must vow to “keep going.”
And no one can argue the importance of apologizing. One article said that “admitting that you made a mistake is the first step toward self-improvement and a better relationship.”
I would have to agree with all of the above, but, most of all, I would have to agree with Robert Eckert who in the Harvard Business Review asserts that “thank you” are the two most important and powerful words. I agree. To express our gratitude regardless of how small or enormous the task costs us absolutely nothing and can mean the world to someone else. Recognition and appreciation for someone’s act of kindness, selflessness, or self-sacrifice is the ultimate display of humility. We have done nothing. All praise goes to the giver.
This realization hit home this year as fire after fire devastated California. First responders spent days and weeks and sometimes months in volatile and dangerous situations to save and protect property and person. And all we could really do was say thank you. But we did. All across the state, on street corners, on overpasses, on cars, one could see “THANK YOU” emblazoned on any available surface. So small an act for such huge acts of valor. Even the USPS’s issuing of the Forever Stamp, recognizing these men and women, is just another way of saying thank you albeit on a grander scale.
You would think “thank you” would come easily during the Christmas season as it falls right on the heels of our national day of thanks. But unfortunately, the calm (hopefully) of the Thanksgiving meal often catapults us into the chaos of the Christmas season.
So for these next few weeks while we are waiting in long lines or trying to work our way through crowed aisles or sitting in holiday traffic, let’s make a concerted effort to say thank you. To those trying to check us out, to our fellow shoppers willing to move their baskets, and to God for keeping us safe.