A Human Approach

Jae Rang Headshot

Why Gratitude Comes Full Circle

I got accused of being a people-pleaser the other day. I say ‘accused’ because the label implies that one behaves in a way solely to garner recognition and appreciation.  While I totally admit that being the inspiration to, or support for, another human gives me great joy, my motivation to do “good” is intrinsic. I look out for others and am detached from the outcome of my gifts, but I admit there is a little piece of me that is open to a “thank you” of some description.

What about you?

If you held the door for someone, picked up something they dropped, ran an errand on their behalf, collected their kid from school, hosted a dinner, volunteered for their organization, gave them a kick-ass referral, went to bat for them, mailed them sought-after tickets to an event, sponsored them, offered a pivotal introduction, stayed late to help finish their work, awarded them with a contract, or in some way went out of your way to support them, would you expect a “thank you”?   Is it a social thing or a recognition thing?

Are different levels of “gifts” perceived as requiring different levels of appreciation?    

My friend, Peggy, enthusiastically and frequently thanks her husband for marrying her.  She’s just so happy and grateful and expresses it often.  I used to employ a graphic designer who, at the end of every workday, would poke her head in my office and say, “Thank you”.  I was caught off-guard once when an industry colleague stopped me on the convention show floor to thank me for my board work!

There are many gifts that go unrecognized and many that go uncelebrated.  When we choose to not take time to express thanks, are we unconsciously belittling the value of another? Or does it feel like the circle is incomplete when a thank-you is missing?

Aha! ~ Giving and receiving are part of the same equation 

We are an interdependent society and no one individual’s time or investment in humanity is less valuable than another’s.  Some may think there is a difference among us because of stature, acclaim, fortune, or intelligence – that one committee member, team member, family member, or member of society is more important than another – but we are all equal cogs in the master wheel.  We all contribute and are all recipients of the contributions of many.

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” ~ Cynthia Ozick.  I think that goes for people, too.  Proper recognition takes deliberate time and effort, but in this time-deprived and divided society, isn’t it even more essential to pour on appreciation?  Besides, you get what you give.

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