How to find meaning in “Thank You”
A friend observed a conversation between my partner and me wherein we said “thanks” to each other a dozen times. Afterward, she said, “That seems like a lot of work.” In our family, we practice saying thanks. It’s a ritual for us; it expresses gratitude and that we take nothing for granted because we came together after divorces and raised a Brady Bunch with all its complexities. Because it wasn’t always that way. But today, we feel it, mean it, and say it…often.
Sometimes “thanks” is just another empty word.
It’s worth considering that, according to Webster, being “thankful” is to be conscious of a benefit received. However, saying “thanks” is just an informal, polite expression of gratitude. Being polite is an empty act without a clear Intention. We can say “thanks,” but if we don’t really feel thankful or are not really conscious of the benefit received, our expression of gratitude falls flat.
Intention haunts us when we lack it; vexes us when we misconstrue it; elevates us when we achieve it. When it comes to communication, it’s one of the most formidable drivers we can tap into. It is ubiquitous—that is, everyone has it and everyone expresses it. The problem is, not everyone knows their own intention much less the impact it has on others or even how others perceive it.
Intention is always present, whether we know it or not. People pick it up. It stands to reason, then, that the clearer we can be about our intention, the more authentic we will show up.
What does it take for “Thank you” to be meaningful
It seems obvious to say authentic gratitude must come from your heart. In fact, this whole post may be too obvious, but it’s worth considering this week that the result of expressing gratitude to someone should be that they feel appreciated, which is why Intention affects the way the word “thanks” is received. We cannot hide our true Intentions. So, when you sit in front of your loud and crazy uncle whose political views are the polar opposite of yours, but who just did an expert job of serving up the feast, you may not feel thankful for his beliefs. But maybe you can find appreciation for his culinary expertise. That’s what will make “thank you” more than just another empty word.