Gratitude And Thankfulness

Thanksgiving Day

Friend, our lives are 'amazingly connected'. No man is an Island... so goes a saying. All of us since our childhood have depended, required and sought the help and assistance of others. We couldn't have seen the second day of our lives if it was not for support of our parents, medical staff etc. As we grew up, we would not have known what it feels like to embrace a friend if we did not have someone who wanted and liked to be our friend. Life is actually a beautiful intertwining of souls. Each one of us needs others.

We would not have developed into what are today if we did not have innumerable people whose lives, gestures and words touched, shaped and chiseled us bit by bit.

In this 'modern age' there is a philosophy that is making rounds - 'No man for nobody'. Many, who seem to follow this principle, get conveyed that they are not dependent on anyone and no one needs to give them the burden of dependency either. The reason this philosophy tends to impress many is because it centres on the person who follows it. It tells that you need not bow down to, embrace, trust or take support from anyone... it says that you are all-sufficient. One of the results of holding such a philosophy is 'the loss of respect for fellow human beings as well as for the one who holds this view'. It tends to boost the wrong side of human ego.

Now, is this philosophy truly and efficiently practicable? Will anyone who follows this be truly happy? No! Why? Because from the waking hours, from our breakfast, through our transport to work and going back to bed, we are in interaction with people. We cannot do all that is needed for our survival by ourselves. Of course, it is true that we pay for most of the services that we obtain daily. And how many of us rationalize our attitude of 'self-sufficiency' by talking about the fact that we reward others when they do something for us? 'I pay others and they do for me'.

But, it is worth reminding that even though we acknowledge other people's help by compensating them financially, in most cases; we cannot dare say that what we receive are not favours in the true sense.

Why then do we think we owe nothing to anybody? In how many instances does a superior give 'just a grim nod' for the assistance rendered by his/her junior? How many times in a house does a person fail to acknowledge the deeds of others, even if the deed is small? The truth is, in such cases, people and the favours they render are taken for granted.

We need to ask ourselves is it because of feelings of inadequacy which makes us think that if we thank somebody or acknowledge someone for their help, we become inferior? If so, the good news is that we need not continue feeling and thinking that way.

Man is a 'social being'. He is in continuous contact with others, receiving benefits from them directly or indirectly, and he cannot do away with this fact unless he takes an extreme step to alienate himself into a solitary existence, away from human inhabitation. Even then, that person would be using the skills and knowledge he/she acquired from his/her previous human interactions.

Hence, life can be made more meaningful and happy if we realize this fact; we stand, survive and succeed because of others. We have a comfortable life because of people who are willing to render their service be it the postman, plumber, teacher, doctor, cab driver etc. Similarly we have confidence in our vocation because there are people who willingly acknowledge our talent and expertise. We get to purchase things we need because there are people who are willing to place their belief in our curriculum vitae/resume by giving us jobs and pay. So why should anyone think that their life is built solely by their own effort?

The Bible also clearly hints at this when it says in the book of Corinthians - 'What do you possess that you did not receive? And when you have received it, why boast as if you did it on your own?'

People who have been popular within their circle of friends, or even more widely, tell us that the secret to live a more peaceful and meaningful life is to acknowledge the importance of others in our lives. Let us therefore give the due acknowledgement to those who have been part of our lives.

Here are a few simple ways (you can add your own creative ways) to make living more meaningful by acknowledging others:

  1. Simple Smile. Smiling is such a wonderful thing; whenever we smile at someone we indirectly tell that we value him/her.

  2. Thanking Time. It is also imperative that we be exceptional in using each opportunity to sincerely thank our friends, colleagues, loved ones etc. A sincere 'thank you' is worth a million dollars to the receiver.

  3. Help Him/Her. When someone knocks your door for help, go forward and render your genuine help to them for there are only few other ways in which you can make your presence worthy in others lives.

  4. Always Ask. When we genuinely inquire of the well-being of our others, we are giving the loving touch that only we can give. We touch their hearts and minds and they would automatically respond the same way towards us.

  5. Negate Negativism. Never speak negatively about someone. First, if any of us would talk negatively about others we denigrate ourselves. Next, we also cause the breeding of a second grade opinion among our circle of association.

  6. Profusely Praise. Every human being needs the tonic of appreciation that makes him/her remain human and helpful. No man is immune to genuine praise, hence give honest appreciations.

  7. Profess Publicly. One of the principle faults that many do is acknowledging someone's favour only in private. When possible,we must make sure we give the credit for the favours we receive in public. It would build their self-esteem and help them help us even more happily in the future.

  8. Channel Cards. If the person who helped us is far away, a simple 'thank you' card through mail would be enough to reassure the other person that we hold him/her in admiration and regard.

  9. Elevate 'Em. When you meet someone make sure that you make him/her feel joyous that he/she saw you. Make them feel that you made their day with your presence. A compliment, joke or hug works magic.

  10. Generate Goodwill. Scientists have proven that our brains emit waves that reach others and are read by the receiver. The kind of waves we emit, say scientists, decides whether the other person would be happy to interact with us or not. Hence it is important that we think thoughts of thankfulness and goodwill.

Copyright 2010 Sam Vijay Kumar

When I think about my life, it is not difficult to tell that most of what I am today is because of lots of people (loved ones, friends, associates, teachers, seniors, bosses etc). And to know that there are so many who extend their favours and effects in my life humbles me. It makes me think that life is wonderful when many lives come together making a better 'us'.

About the Author: I am a biotechnologist from India, working in the field of bio-medical research, with interest in theology, positive thinking, philosophy, creative writing and in living a purposeful life, thereby contributing to fellow humans. My personal desire and struggle is to be keen to (and) learn anything that will uplift human life and place us in a better position at handling the challenges that life throws at us. To discuss and write about issues of life, thoughts and mind are some of my passions.

I have received a lot from this world through many thinkers and their writings. and hence I want to contribute something to this world by presenting my thoughts to the world as well in these areas. 'Positive people' are the ones that I am most comfortable interacting with. I am sure you who are reading this are a positive person and am glad to have connected with you.

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