Have you ever worked overtime to get a project at work completed? The extra hours and attention to detail added, all in the name of a successful product. It exemplified your pride and professionalism. You hand it in only to have it tossed into a pile without any concerns. They didn’t even look at it. Without a simple “Thank you,” you become the victim of thanklessness. Before we start throwing stones, I would like to point out that we all are guilty of not showing others gratitude. Sometimes, we are too busy to cater to the emotional needs of others. Welcome to life.
Gratitude is a thankfulness with a readiness to return kindness. We are more than thankful; we are grateful. Gratitude is a two-step process. First comes the recognition of the good in our lives. Secondly, we recognize this good came from others. We cannot be grateful for our deeds or the gifts we give ourselves. Nobody, in their right mind, feels the need to return self-kindness to ourselves for an action that we did. Treating ourselves for reaching a goal is celebrating an accomplishment, not gratitude. Having a great sense of appreciation for the actions of others is gratitude.
By showing gratitude, we create a positive atmosphere. Stress levels reduce, and relationships grow strong. In business, one’s appreciation can build secure networks, don’t go overboard. When people go out of their way for us, we need to show a high level of recognition. In our opening scenario, we are putting in a little extra to ensure our job is perfect. The product that we turned in is nothing more than what we got paid to do. It is a hard lesson for many people to understand. Our peers should not feel the need to show appreciation just because we did our job, nor should we contact obligated to others for doing what we paid them to do. Do not expect gratitude for doing a job.
My job is a thankless job, but its what I know. I love restoring old CH-53s then sending them back out to the fleet. I check, double-check, triple check my work to ensure I am sending out my best product. No one shows gratitude like our team leads. My quality of work keeps the bosses off of their backs. Most of the time, all I hear is “do this” or “do that.” With a sincere smile, I reply, “consider it done.” We should not need gratitude. Yes, it is pleasant to receive; however, it is not necessary.
Waitresses, deliverymen, and bartenders thrive on tips. When we perform these services with professionalism, we should receive a monetary gratuity. If the services are below par, I’m not one for tipping. Forced gratuity is not gratitude. And, that’s as far as I’m taking that subject 🙂
So, what’s in it for me? Why should I show gratitude? It should go without saying that all humans require appreciation. It shows that we are valued. When we reciprocate kindness to others, we send a signal of acceptance. Think of it as being picked for “team us.” The more players we have on our team, the more versatility is at our disposal.
Another side-effect is a lowered amount of social comparison. We are not in competition with people on our team. A prosocial attitude produces a less retaliating mindset. We are less likely to seek revenge on those whom we appreciate. A gratuitous hand has fewer enemies than a judgmental eye. Notice I stated fewer. Yes, some are going to despise us despite our kindness. This too, is life.
Gratitude can increase mental strength. A person who shows a high level of appreciation for their peers and the positive actions towards them have fewer effects from trauma. When we are gracious, we tend to look towards the positive. Every scenario has its good and its bad. If given a million dollars, most of us would jump for joy while others would sweat the tax. Find the good.
Speak with kindness, hold the door for others, and say “Thank you” to everyone who shows compassion. We are all on this rock together. No one is better than us, and we are better than no one. Our position in this world is just that; a position. Take it from someone who has traveled around the world; we are all equally great. When we come together as a group and work as one, that is when humanity becomes beautiful; and it starts with gratitude.