Dear Reader, I Appreciate You: The Value in Gratitude
The other day I saw a post. The essence of the post was saying that voice actors who say "thank you" for the opportunity in their auditions shouldn't do that because they are offering a service the client needs.
Now, in addition to voice acting, I happen to be a professional dweller and this bothered me. I thought about it. If everyone just stopped saying "thank you" because the service they were providing was needed or the service they were receiving was being paid for, ugh, the thought alone feels icky and cold. I made a post on the socials about showing gratitude this morning, but I just had so much more to say than the 120 characters of Twitter would allow and I also try not to make my Instagram or LinkedIn posts tooooo long (even though they are kind enough to let me ramble on).
Thus, this blog post was born and if you could give me a minute or two of your time, I'd like to make the argument for saying "thank you" as often as possible.
Do you remember being a kid? Not just a teenager, but waaaayyy back, to the younger years, Kindergarten, maybe even before. Please don't strain your brain, it's not essential to comprehending this blog, I don't remember much of my younger years, even the more recent ones. I do, however, remember one of the things I was taught, REPEATEDLY, from every adult that wandered into my orbit. Manners. Specifically two of the most basic and widely pressed phrases being "please" and "thank you". As I was a well behaved young lady, I latched on to these phrases and they have been a part of my daily vocabulary since. And I'm proud of that fact.
I have thanked every employer who has ever interviewed me for a job. They could have just read the resumes and chosen someone that way. They took time to get to know me. When I was a waitress I thank my customers for their patronage, they didn't have to choose this restaurant. When I answered phones I thanked the caller for trusting me to remedy their issue, they didn't have to call and be nice when they were clearly frustrated. When I was a DJ I thanked the hosts for the complimentary meal that wasn't really part of the deal, but somehow always included. When I performed on stage I took a bow at the end to thank the audience for their applause, they could have rushed out to beat the traffic. When I was a receptionist I thanked the employees for turning in their paperwork on time, they didn't have to bring it to my desk, they could have let me hunt them down. As a voice actor I say thank your for every audition, they don't have to read my note or listen to my takes (I may be the 100th submission! That's dedication listening that far in!)
I say thank you when someone holds the door or picks up something I dropped, the driver lets me in the lane or out of the parking lot. They didn't have to give up their time to help me.
I say it when the sales associate helps me find the product I was looking for, the phone rep helps resolve my issue, the waiter brings my food or refills my drink, the coach/teacher helps me learn something. I even thank the dental hygienist for digging around and scraping in my mouth. It may be these people's jobs, but if they weren't working, I wouldn't have gotten what I needed. And just because it's their job doesn't mean they have to be friendly.
I say thank you to the kids when they pick up that thing that I've asked them to pick up...100 times. I want to teach them good habits. I say thank you to my parents when they watch the kids so I can work or so my husband and I can have a date. Just because they're grandparents doesn't mean they don't have other things to do too.
I thank my husband when he takes out the trash or brings down the laundry bin. Yes, he should help out around the house too, but he's just as tired, if not more so, than I am, and I appreciate one less chore for me to do.
Some folks might think all of this "thank you"-ing makes the words meaningless, but I disagree. I know when someone says "thank you" to me it makes me feel like my actions/words meant something, maybe made a difference in someone's day, or at bare minimum are appreciated. I also believe saying "thank you" shows respect for the value of a person's time, which is our most precious, non-renewable resource.
Kindness, patience, and gratitude are something that I consider crucial to being a decent human being and it is a two way street. I struggle at all three from time to time (patience most frequently), but I will never stop trying to be kind, patient, and be grateful for every person I encounter who does anything to help me, even in it's smallest measure, even if it is their responsibility or they are getting paid to do said task, and even if I have a service they need.
With that being said, I think a nod of gratitude is due to you, dear reader. I was apprehensive to start a blog and I'm still not completely sure what I'm doing, but I am eternally grateful that you take time out of your day to read my musings. I know there are so many things to read, watch, listen to, and it is impossible to fit it all in and I am beyond elation that anyone has taken the time to read even one. And for those of you who have read more than one...I don't even have the words to say how much that means to me. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Are you sharing your gratitude? Next time you think about being grateful for something, reach out to that person and say it! Now is as good a time as any. And don't forget to say "please" next time you need something too!