Gratitude is the surest foundation of a happy life. That’s true for cultivating your own feelings of gratitude for things, events and especially toward people. It goes the other way too. There’s nothing that makes me feel happier than knowing something I’ve said, done or helped someone experience made them feel great – AKA grateful. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean they say “thank you”. While that’s nice, there are just too many ways to discount a polite thank you from someone who doesn’t look all that happy.
I think deeply feeling someone’s gratitude is one of the reasons why giving is so much better than receiving. For me, the best thank-you’s are non-verbal. You feel it to your bones because you know it’s real, and you know you made it so. It affirms who you are. You are good.
We rent out a couple of cabins near our gorgeous waterfall. I make it a point to take each new guest on a personal tour of the waterfall and trails, pointing out ways to enjoy it.
It takes some extra time. But I do it mainly so I can experience that flush of endorphins that comes from seeing the look of amazement and pure pleasure as they come to the top of the falls, peer over the edge, and find that it is so much more than they expected. You see, the expression of pure pleasure on someone’s face is a form of gratitude that beats the oral kind hands down.
Every time I get to vicariously experience pure joy just by seeing someone else’s face, knowing that I helped put the smile there, I want to do it again and again. It’s a good thing to notice the pleasure you feel from other’s genuine gratitude and how that programs you to keep doing nice things. It goes the other direction too. Simply by wearing a genuine, expressive smile, other people will do whatever they can to help me keep wearing it.
So, smile. It’s your best way of saying thank you and it pays high dividends for others and yourself.