This article originally appeared on Mind, Body, Green December 10, 2013
I used to do this all the time: I would do something for someone and they would thank me and I would reply with something along the lines of, “Oh, it’s no big deal.” I would always brush off the "thank yous" because for some reason they made me feel uncomfortable. Why was it that I couldn't just accept their thanks and feel good that I'd made a difference for someone? But I know so many of us do this daily. We don't value our role in other's lives, nor do we give ourselves credit for being a caring friend.
I'm also guilty of the the following: when I am out in public and someone compliments my purse, shoes, hair or something else, I am always quick to say “Oh, I got it at XYZ store on sale.” When in reality, I should just say, “Thank you.” That's all. I shouldn’t feel the need to say where I got something or that it was on sale. I work hard for the money I make, and if I am able to purchase something nice, I should appreciate these kinds of comments. We should all be mindful to accept these compliments without feeling guilty.
Have you ever had a bad day and someone says something nice to you? That one compliment can turn your entire day around. But why do we feel the need to brush these things off? In this fast-paced life we all lead, it is nice to receive compliments from someone. This is why I make myself smile and say, "Thank you so much" and leave it at that. There's no need to make excuses or act like it was no big deal. Accept the kind words and know it came from someone's heart.
In addition, when someone genuinely thanks you for something you've done, you should appreciate that and respond with, “You're welcome.” That's all that’s needed. And know in your heart that you touched someone enough for them to appreciate you. So appreciate yourself right back. Responding with an excuse or justification that what you did really didn't matter undermines yourself as a person. Love yourself, and know you did something worthwhile.
All too often we undervalue our gifts to others. And that's undervaluing ourselves. There's no need to act like it was nothing when we did something special for another person. This could be as simple as holding the door for someone or sending a nice letter to a friend. We should all be considerate of others and say "thank you" and "you’re welcome" more often.
At the end of my daughter’s last volleyball season, I sent an email to the Team Mom who organized everything for all of the tournaments. She had sign-up lists, sent reminder emails and basically made sure that our girls had everything they needed to be successful during our all-day tournaments. After my email expressing gratitude for all her help, she immediately responded back with “Oh, it was no big deal.” But it was! She made sure the girls had plenty of nourishing food and drink between games, coordinated ribbons that we gave the girls at each tournament to put on their backpacks and so much more. She put a lot of effort into making sure everything ran smoothly. And when I genuinely thanked her, she didn’t give herself the credit for all the hard work she had done. I wish she would have just said, “Thank you” for her own sake and to know that she made a huge difference for the entire team.
The next time someone thanks you for something, respond with a smile and say, “You are very welcome.” Notice how you feel? It feels much better than brushing it off. Take this to heart and know you have done something that touched another person.
And when people go out of their way to make a difference in your life, not matter how big or small, be sure to thank them. It could very well make their day!
My mission as a Certified Health Coach is to make the world a happier, healthier place, one person, one meal at a time, with love and gratitude. I work to inspire others to live a life of prevention and overall wellness!