Musings: How do You Gratitude?

Develop an attitude of gratitude…
…or don’t!
grat·i·tude [ˈɡradəˌt(y)o͞od/ ] noun the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

(from Google)
The holiday season always brings gratitude to the surface, for me at least. I can’t speak for others. Last night, while enjoying the greasy delights of Jimboy’s Tacos, the topic came up again. As children, we both realized, we grew up with influences of showing gratitude verbally, but also through other actions such as gifting, thank you notes, or a kind act. I guess this is one of those reasons we get along so well, we gratitude the same, among a variety of other things that are similar. 
In a different conversation I was also told that some people don’t show or verbalize gratitude, it is implied. I don’t understand this and this doesn’t mesh well with someone shows gratitude differently. To say that your quality of being thankful is implied, is, if I understand this correctly, that you are suggesting gratitude, but it is not directly expressed. This is hard for me to wrap my head around. So when you want to show gratitude you don’t do or say anything, your actions speak for themselves? What if no action is taken, how is it implied that you are grateful for something, anything?

Studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude, and can increase our well-being and happiness by doing so. In addition, gratefulness—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy. ” – Sourced from Psychology Today

Growing up, I learned that you express gratitude and thankfulness in 3 different ways:

1. Verbal – Yes, I am the ‘Polite Police’ and require those around me to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. I don’t always do it myself, but I hope to always remember to do so. I hold myself to the same standards as I do everyone else. I hope someone corrects me if I forget! I was basically taught to say TY for everything — big or small, you always said it, for physical gifts, acts of kindness or politeness, or if someone helped you in any manner. It is a huge pet peeve when those words are uttered to one another!

2. Thank You Notes – We’ve been writing these things since I can’t even remember. We had to write them for all of our gifts as kids and until we were teenagers. It wasn’t until I started being more independent (of all kinds), did I start writing TY notes for a variety of reasons, not just for gifts. For acts of kindness, for help, for anything really. I always try to send a TY note when gratitude is felt, even if it is just for gratitude of friendship.

3. Return Gratitude – This can come in so many forms, but you let your actions speak your gratitude. As I write this, it seems like I’m making it kinda feel like a quid-pro-quo thing, but that’s far from what I truly mean. I mean that sometimes, instead of doing one of the other two options you perform an action that shows gratitude (yes, I know writing a TY note is an action too). It can be whatever you chose it to be, but it is something that is thought out and a personal way to show/share your gratitude for another(s).

This topic has been bugging me for awhile. It seems like our society (yes, I’m generalizing) has moved away from gratitude to expectancy. I feel like there is no longer the need to express gratitude. This idea that it is implied may be a great way to describe it. Maybe I’m archaic in my views, but I know hearing ‘thank you’ from someone always makes me smile and actually feel the gratitude. Obviously, a half-hearted ‘thank you’ does not have the same effect as a well meaning one does. Whether its one of the three ways above, or some other way I haven’t detailed out, feeling the gratitude from someone else is a great feeling. So why wouldn’t you want to allow others have that great feeling, if something kind/nice/helpful has been done for you? I realize that things/actions are not done to receive gratitude, but the sentiment behind showing gratitude is what I feel we are losing these days.

I also realized that this idea of implied gratitude does not bode well with me, because I learned to gratitude differently. I do expect a TY after I help someone, but that’s about the extent of my expecting gratitude. But I wasn’t raised to know gratitude is implied, so how am I to know you are implying gratitude upon me? If I hold the door open for you and you just breeze through without a word to me, are you implying gratitude? How does anyone know you are implying gratitude if you weren’t raised in that family or in that manner? I guess it’s one of those tricky and uncomfortable dynamics between human relationships which we must navigate. If you’ve spent any time with me, you know I verbalize mine. But now I have a different perspective when someone isn’t as verbose in gratitude, as I tend to be (or my friends and family tend to be).

Basically, I’m saying lets not be assholes and lets show gratitude to one another! Ok?!

Leave a Reply