Thursday, February 28, 2008

Gratitude is my anti-drug

I had a sweetheart of a “railing against society” post ready to roll — and I still will be rolling it out in the next few days. But a funny thing happened on the way to the righteous indignation entry.

I had the occasion to thank two people today. Each deserved special thanks: my boss, who was instrumental in my getting promoted to a new position in which she will, sadly, no longer be my boss; and a co-worker who helped me pack my desk as our entire division moved back into the main building across the street. Verbal kudos didn’t seem to cut it, so I bought each a thank-you card on my lunch hour.

As I headed back to the office, I had a curious rush. I was incredibly excited at the prospect of brightening both ladies’ days. It occurred to me that I needed to find more reasons to thank people.

There is a totally unique feel-good vibe to sincerely thanking someone. More often than not, it catches people by surprise, and there’s something deliriously gratifying about ambushing someone with unexpected appreciation. It causes a smile in them that can’t be elicited any other way.

Beyond the selfish motivation of the gratitude rush, there’s another reason thanking people is more important now than ever. We live in a troubled world filled with troubled people. So many around us have psyches on the brink of shattering. At the risk of being overly dramatic, feeding someone’s soul with a well-timed thank-you could literally save lives. Of course, you’ll never know.

But you’ll still get That Smile.

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