The two most powerful words I know are “thank you.” A simple statement of acknowledgment and gratitude transforms the person who says it as well as the person who hears it. If every one of us just added five “Thank yous” to each day we could change the world. So many souls shrivel waiting for some recognition. I love this poem by Jan Struther:
Hard words will break no bones:
But more than bones are broken
By the inescapable stones
Of fond words left unspoken.
Watch this clip by Laura Trice from Ted Talks about the power of saying “Thank you.” Some people will object to her suggestion that we ask for thanks, but what she is saying is that it can be a gift to those closest to us to confide in them about what we are proud of. She is not telling us to be needy or demanding. She is suggesting that we share ourselves and let those we love share in return.
A similar idea comes from writer Carolyn See, who recommends writing a “charming note” every single day to help launch a writing career. She suggests you write to authors and editors whose work you like to let them know — specifically — how much you appreciate them. To be charming, a note must be hand-written on beautiful note paper and it must not ask for anything. It’s a good idea to leave out most details about you and your aspirations because that is an implied request for a favor.
I think a daily “charming note” is a great exercise for anyone with or without a specific ambition. The discipline of gratitude is essential for all of us but we often feel we are too busy or worry that it makes us too vulnerable.
So thanks to all of you who visit this site and especially to those who post comments, whether praise or complaint. I am very grateful to you all. And here is one more story I love about the importance of expressing appreciation.