How often do you say a heartfelt, sincere, not just a perfunctory thank you to anyone, especially to your partner? Probably not often enough.
In recent years, thank yous have gone out of fashion. We’re no longer surprised if we don’t get a thank you note for a wedding gift or a thank you email for a dinner party that we host. It’s more likely that we’ll be thanked by friends over the age of 50, but it’s not a given anymore either. It’s a pleasant surprise when we’re thanked by a friend under the age of 30.
Thank yous used to be common courtesy, a sign of being well-bred regardless of socioeconomic class. Technologically there are now more ways than ever to communicate appreciation but fewer people are taking the time to practice thank-youing.
Why is this trend of no thank yous becoming more and more culturally acceptable?
Perhaps with the advent of a freer society, without the social etiquette dictates of a more restricted one, the traditional dos and don’ts seem meaningless. I posit that there’s also an underlying psychological component: It’s a sense of entitlement which leads to people thinking that the world owes them something when the truth is the reverse. It’s not that society has become self-absorbed; it’s that it isn’t up-to-date with science.
What many people still haven’t embraced is the paradigm shift of the Copernican Revolution of 1548. They believe in the retro idea that planet earth is the center of the universe, which means they are the center of the solar system. They aren’t and Copernicus proved it. The earth circles around the sun, and the earth is eternally grateful to its relationship with the sun because its very existence depends on it!
Isn’t it all about me???
Why might you think that everything revolves around you and not the other way around? Your parents did owe you something when they brought you into this world as a helpless child. But as an adult, no one owes you anything and that includes your partner. Each and every day your partner makes the choice to be kind, generous, and respectful to you, and you do the same vis-a-vis your partner. It’s not an obligation. Relationships don’t thrive on duty — a quid-pro-quo system of mutual reciprocity, i.e. I scratch your back and you’ll scratch mine.
Say thank you to your partner without any expectation that he or she will say thank you to you. One of my students said that she was eternally grateful to her partner for putting up with her. No one is easy to live with and that includes you. Your partner is the one who tolerates your eccentricities and idiosyncrasies and that’s challenging.
Express Your Gratitude
Nowadays there’s a plethora of books written on the practice of being grateful because people need to be reminded of its power. Gratitude is simple yet life-changing and it boils down to two words: Thank you.