No one likes to be appreciated.
Said no one ever.
The word thank you is thrown around every day all day.
“Thank you” for shopping at Walmart, “Thank you” for paying for our services and helping us keep our business running. “Thank you” for commenting on my profile picture, “thank you” for thinking my shoes are fancy. “Thank you” “thank you” “thank you.” Its real efficient meaning, or its real value has been lost while we throw it around for different things that are not equivalent to each other. For example, you go to Baskin Robbins, buy a scoop of ice cream and you pay for it. You say “thank You,” walk out and enjoy your ice cream and move on with the rest of your day. You were polite and you had the common courtesy of saying “please” and “thank you” – the two words that are reiterated by preschool teachers to students over and over again.
Now around two weeks ago, I felt very ill and I had extremely high fevers followed by shivers, and I was stuck in bed unable to move. In this situation, I felt kind of helpless and had extreme hate towards my sickness and everything around me. I’m sure we’ve all experienced that. I picked up my phone and texted a bunch of people and told them about my situation, they were polite enough to text me back saying “Get well soon dear” and as common courtesy, I responded saying “thanks.”
However, there are people who go above and beyond the expected “common courtesy,” how do we express our gratitude to them? I was lucky enough to have a friend, who’s also called Mina, to show up at my place, make me tea, wet towels and put them on my forehead, and stay with me all night in case my fever went too high and I needed to go to the hospital. What are we supposed to do when someone goes that far to make sure you are okay and expect NOTHING in return? What can a sick person offer to her whilst she spends all night taking care of her? I was speechless; no one ever did that for me. As soon as I felt better, I was on a mission to make sure everything I did expressed in one way or another how grateful I was to her kindness that night. Saying “thanks” or “thank you” does not cut it. They're just not on the same playing field.
So do not treat the little acts as kindness people do for you as unseen or “conventional.” Being kind and helping others is voluntary and not part of any rule that is programmed in anyone. People show affection to others because they WANT to not because they HAVE to. So next time someone is doing something for you, hosts you at their home, cooks for you or does something that made you happy, don’t just say hey thanks and move on with your life (as if the whole world was created to please you left and right). Learn not only to say “thanks” but also learn how to show “thanks.” You can show it in many ways but one of the easiest yet most impactful way can be by simply sending a card. Buy a box of thank you cards from your nearest bookstore or gift shop, it wouldn't cost you more than $15 (I promise) and just keep it around your house. Or, if you want to be thrifty, pick up a thank you card from your nearest Dollarama, it doesn't matter how much money you spend on the actual card. You know what they say, "it's the thought that counts," so go ahead and mail it to the last person that did something nice for you. Yes, I meant "mail" yes with "stamps" and "post offices" and "pigeons" and "telegraphs." Old School, yes! Send a tangible card, with your own unique handwriting and see how excited they'll be. Don't let the facility of technology make you insensitive, lazy or unbothered. Old school works, trust me!
Mina is a multimedia journalist currently based in London, U.K.
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