Importance of Thank You …

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

~ Marcel Proust

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

~ G.K. Chesterton

“Thank you”. These are two very simple words that can hold a lot of meaning, when said sincerely.
Due to the growth of our digital and impersonal world (email, texting) I think the words “thank you” have lost some of their meaning. These words are often tossed around in a nonchalant, meaningless way .. if they are said at all and that bothers me. Giving thanks, expressing appreciation, telling someone how grateful we are for them is one of the most important acts of grace we can perform for one another.

When my dad recently told me “I have never had to say thank you and please so much in my whole life” (due to the fact that he is completely dependent on his care givers), I realized that simple words of appreciation can be extremely humbling at times and it made me really think about how important it is to show your appreciation for the help and support that is given to us.

It is not that people have stopped expressing their feelings of gratefulness, but like everything else in our society it has become the habit to do it quick, simply and move on to the next thing. It is a cycle of apathetic appreciation … the thank you’s are so short and meaningless, people are wondering why bother with them (a comment at a blog I read recently). Or, there is the other train of thought .. “They don’t need a thank you, they know I appreciate it.”

The time and effort it takes to say “thank you”, definitely corresponds to the meaning behind the words. In my opinion, the appropriate thank you should fit the gracious act and be in the form of what I would appreciate if the roles were reversed. Think seriously for a minute and be honest … Does “TY” or “TYVM” at the end of an email or text hold as much meaning to you as the words “thank you”? Which has more meaning to you … a phone call thank you or an emailed one? Does a verbal thank you hold as much meaning as an old-fashioned thank you card?

Most of us do not help someone out just to be acknowledged and thanked … we do it as an act of kindness and expect nothing. As the receiver of helpful acts, I personally feel a strong need to thank others. A thank you of any kind is definitely better than no acknowledgement at all. And, sometimes a simple thank you is enough. However, when we are especially grateful for someone’s assistance (whether or not it is their job to assist us) I would like to encourage everyone to put some time and heart into how you thank them.

For me, I think that the old-fashioned hand written notes mean the most. Why?
Because ….

  • … it takes time and effort for someone to write down their thoughts, address it, and send it.
  • … it has a personal touch to it, it is more intimate in my opinion.
  • … in this day and age getting a thank you note in the mail is very special because it is not a common act.
  • … and, maybe most of all, a note is something I can physically touch and keep for a while as a reminder … it lasts more than a few seconds.

Remember, saying “thank you” in whichever manner you choose, is not just for the recipient of your appreciation .. it also is a great learning experience for ourselves. When we gather our thoughts together to say or write a meaningful thank you to someone, it is a time of reflection of the person, the act, our needs. We can learn a lot about ourselves and our values when we take the time to contemplate our “thank you” to someone. An act of kindness without a recognition of thanks is like an unfinished conversation … it just hangs there in a big empty, silent, irritating space.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” ~ William Ward

When all you can do is simply say “thank you”, make it meaningful and don’t abbreviate it … say it from the heart. If you have trouble finding the words, check out, to get you started.
How do you say “thank you”?
What is the best “thank you” you have ever received?


~ by bearyweather on June 15, 2011.

12 Responses to “Importance of Thank You …”

  1. I think saying thank you…and using the real words or letters is important…not something to be rushed through with an acronymn (besides it takes me forever to get those!). Everyone likes to feel appreciated. I like for the people in my life to know that I appreciate their efforts. And isn’t it the most wonderful feeling to go to the mailbox and have a real letter or card waiting for you to open and read?!

    • I agree, I love getting fun things from people I care about in the mail (hint, hint, hint to all those graduates I am still waiting to hear back from). I also get a wonderful feeling writing and sending a real letter or card to someone. There used to be an old saying … you have to send them to get them.

  2. just popping over from the Bogs blog

    I agree with everything you say in this post and recently wrote a thankyou card to a couple who hosted a vegetarian wood-fired pizza night in their home
    They seemed surprised, said it wasn’t necessary, but Mr X , my husband who works with them, said they couldn”t stop talking about getting that card 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by, I love new visitors … especially those who comment and add to the conversations.
      It is sad that people are surprised by such things, it used to be the thing to do and you were insulting people if you did not send a thank you. Getting it was very important to to your friends if they could not stop talking about it. Maybe you will be the ones to restart the tradition in your area again … I hope it spreads.
      I will be by to visit your blog soon.

  3. I still send thank you cards when I think the situation calls for it. It’s the least I can do when someone goes out of their way to help or give a gift of some kind. I know quite a few people who think of that as old fashioned which is sad. I would not like to see the thank you card or note become extinct.

    Would you believe it took me a moment to figure out “TYVM?” lol! I need to get with the program.

    • I don’t do the texting shortcuts, so I have to think for a while to figure them out, too. I don’t want to see the thank you card/note tradition disappear, either. It benefits everyone.

  4. Hi Bearyweather, I felt that my son who is pushing 30 and unmarried having reached a sense of maturity and adulthood and realizing that in life, yes, there are limitations and social conventions, was a thank you to us his parents! We adopted him when he was five years old (special needs type adoption of an older kid). That was a perfect thank you after many turbulent years through his adolescence. I say thank you to you Bearyweather for this fine essay and your wonderful posts. Have a fantastic day and coming week!

    • I am not a parent, but I hope my parents see my “thank you” in the person I have become and the things that I do … like you have with your son.

      I realize that not all thank you’s take a formal form … sometimes thank you takes the form of actions and decisions.

      Thank you for commenting and blogging about nature.

  5. Thank you for blogging and sharing your life, bearyweather. I have received so many thank yous that I don’t think I could choose the best one. The current one is always the best one. 🙂

  6. Great post and great take on how humbling it can be to give thanks. I recently went through a very rough period in my life and was amazed by the many favors and assistance my friends and loved ones provided. It was very humbling for me as well. I just wrote about this topic myself on my blog, since I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude and kindness recently and there seems to be a bad case of under-appreciation of appreciation going around! If only people were more thankful in their daily lives!

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