As the saying goes, It is better to give than to receive. But if you pour water into a leaky glass, it won’t slake your thirst. So, let’s look at the receiving end of the process.
Do you have a friend who is impossible to praise? If you say, “I appreciate the work you did,” might they say, “thank you for saying that?”
Have you ever selected and wrapped a special gift, then had the recipient take it and place it in a closet? Yeh, it feels like that.
Do you know anyone like this? Actually, you do. Me.
I used to deflect praise and gratitude. Pay me a compliment? I’d explain that it was “the team.” Say you admire my speaking or problem-solving skill? I’d talk about how the group was unusually cooperative, or that I was lucky that day.
I had no idea that I was effectively dissing those who were trying to share gratitude with me.
Then one day I found myself confronted by a man (later my coach!) who refused to let me walk away from the conversation. “I’m not feeling heard,” he said. “I just shared with you my admiration for what you did, and you just blew me off.” What was this guy talking about?
As it turns out, he was right. I learned from that moment, and many others since, that I have trouble accepting gratitude, praise, compliments, and admiration. I mean, the sound comes into my eardrums, but I don’t always HEAR and accept the gratitude. I had to learn to stop, make eye contact, feel the gratitude in my body as a physical sensation and say, simply, “thank you.”
Pay attention to how you handle thanks and gratitude. When someone thanks you, instead of tossing back a quick “no problem,” stop, smile, look into their eyes and say, carefully and from your heart, “it was my pleasure.”
And when someone gives you the “gift” of praise or appreciation, pause, take a deep breath, feel the smile on your face, and say “Thank You.” Accept the gift, seeing it through the eyes of the person who chose it, wrapped it, and took the time to deliver it, just for you.
Show respect for that person who did the giving and honor the emotion that shows up in you as you get thanked.
Part 2: Movie Share
My favorite movie to evoke gratitude is this indie gem from 2010. It was not a huge commercial success, but it won Sundance awards and my heart.
HappyThankYouMorePlease. It’s got a killer song at the end of the movie and a ton of sweet stories along the way. Definitely a movie that will make you Cry for Happy.
For those who celebrate it, Happy Thanksgiving. And in case you’ve not heard me say it before, dear Readers, I am grateful for you! Thank you for joining my tribe.
Remember, Leadership is not about a title: Anyone can be a leader who offers thanks and appreciation and who shares gratitude as if it is an infinite resource (which it is!)
Gratitude is just one of many things you can practice to upgrade your Happiness. Post this summary of The 13 Principles of Happiness on your fridge or wall and try out even more!