Your smile touched ears, body developed goose bumps, heart paused to savour the moments and mind didn't care interpreting the true words. Or you were left somewhat embarrassed too. Every word was about you – just about you – soaking your being and energizing the soul.
Showers of genuine appreciation and gratitude! When did you last experience them?
When The Stream Dries Up
As we go about our day, our actions and behaviour impact the world around us. When the impact is not to the liking of others, it is always noticed. This is due to our strong affinity for dislikes. They spring to life instinctively at the slightest sign of uneasiness, inconvenience or unpleasant experiences and are often shown too. We don't get used to them. Remember how we are unable to get away with our mistakes, flaws or irritating-yet-harmless actions, be it at home or outside? When repeated, people quickly run out of patience and don't hesitate to give us a piece of their mind.
Now, on occasions when we do manage to showcase something good, stream of their words dries up. It produces a mere trickle - "Thank You". They quickly get used to it, start taking for granted and its recurring display generates no emotions.
The Occasional Speakers
Things are not that bad either. Others do indulge in wishing, congratulating and showering us with occasional droplets. On a personal level, we are 'entitled' to couple of special days in an year when we are pampered and made to feel special. These are our anniversaries - weddings or birthdays. In office, when we switch projects/jobs, 'farewell-speakers' grab that opportunity to explain how extra-ordinary we were, list our 'supermanic' abilities and how much we would be missed. Annual appraisal is another ritual.
Is that all? Think about it. Are we really NOT doing anything worthwhile throughout the year for persons around us?
Flipping the Coin
Flip the coin now. How about this-
When was the last time we showered someone with genuine appreciation or gratitude? Try recalling. Spend a moment about persons in our lives and what they mean to us. Think about their favours, gestures, executing daily chores for us and living up to our expectations. Or helping us in pursuit of our dreams, shouldering our load. Or inspiring and changing our lives. Or giving us memories we cherish even today. Or standing up for us in our absence. Or smiles, lighting up our mood, wink of eyes. Or giving us company and listening to our ramblings. Or simply being there. And many more.
Why do WE forget them? Why do WE wait for special days or even for them to leave us before we realize their worth?
Even our own indulgence in appreciation remains occasional. Our unawareness - "It never occurred to me" - is a big reason as we too take others for granted. Some of us actually feel embarrassed expressing gratitude (too formal) while others have "They know it" attitude. Sometimes, we may lack the courage as it would require acknowledging our own shortcomings. Worse is the case when we look for "What is in it for me?" and nourish "Mentality of Scarcity".
The Walk Beyond Regret
In many simple every day scenarios, we actually get to choose between an expression of regret-and-gratitude or just regret. Sadly, all of us choose to express mere regret and then stop just there. One such recurring scenario is-
What do we say on being late for an appointment? A "Sorry" or "I'm sorry for being late" or its numerous variants? They all express just our regret and miss something very basic. They do not appreciate the generosity of the person who waited for us. We never go on to add, "...and THANK YOU for waiting for me". How unfortunate that we feel lighter just by shedding our regret and fail to appreciate others' generosity.
Color the Lives
People rightly believe that their presence and actions make difference to our lives. When we express gratitude, it validates and reinforces that belief. It strengthens our bond, brings a sense of fulfillment, joy and freedom. By taking others for granted, we are being insensitive and unkind to them. The least we can do is express gratitude.
Let us not wait for an occasion to celebrate their presence. Rather create one to surprise them, embarrass them, overwhelm them and share their goodness stories with others. Color their lives. Make them feel special. Make them glow. Don’t just be farewell speakers.
People don't remember what you said. However, they do remember how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou