You can type it out in a few keystrokes. It’s just one short syllable. Why, then, is it so difficult to say thanks? We are often focused on ourselves – Galileo may have proved that the earth revolved around the sun but most of us secretly believe that the world itself revolves around us. It is sometimes hard to pull out of that orbit and become more aware of the contributions of others. And we all tend to take good things for granted. Humans instinctively pay more attention to threats to their safety than they do to situations of security and pleasure. We are less likely to notice supportive behaviors, so positive acts are often ignored.
Other times we think that, by recognizing family members for their generosity, they are less likely to notice what they could appreciate about us. But giving thanks is not a zero sum game. Actually, expressing gratitude leads to positive effects for both the sender and the receiver. But any change in behavior is difficult – and establishing life-long habits takes conscious repetitions. It may be hard to make the commitment to building this new skill, but it is well worth the effort.
We offer our own thanks to Barbara Friesner, generational coach, for hosting us on her radio show, Age Wise Living, on the Voice America Talk Radio Networklast week. To listen to the whole show, click on the title above. You can hear our discussion of Healing the Rifts in Family Relationships on your computer or download it to your mp3 player or itunes. And let us know if you have any questions or comments about our interview – it highlighted some major issues for those of you in the Sandwich Generation who are caring for aging parents.