As soon as you started to talk, your parents probably taught you to say, “thank you.”
It’s no surprise that parents teach children this basic rule. Relationships grow stronger when you express gratitude. A heartfelt “thank you” makes other people feel appreciated. And it reminds you of your dependence upon other people.
Saying “thank you” isn’t something you grow out of when you leave childhood.
The writer of the letter to the Philippians modeled practicing gratitude for other people. “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you” (Philippians 1:3–4). In the Old Testament, people express gratitude to one another by blessing them. One of the most famous biblical blessings reads, “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you” (Numbers 6:24–26).
When you express your gratitude to someone else, it can be as if God is shining his face on both of you. A sincere “thank you” points out the good in another person and bring it to the surface.
- Say, “thank you” to three people today. It could be someone you know well, or someone you only meet in passing.
- Use specifics. Point out exactly what the other person did and the good that you see in them. For example, you could say: “Thank you for responding so quickly to my email. I notice you put a lot of care into your work. You really love the people around you through your work.”
- Make a note of how someone reacts to a genuine “thank you.” Did the person’s face change when they heard it? How did you feel after expressing your gratitude?
- At the end of your day today, reflect on your gratitude experiment.