Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why It Hurts to Say Thank You

My cousin and I haven't always seen eye to eye. Our temperaments are on opposite ends of the spectrum and we've even had social media fueled disagreements that brought our family around into camps poised on each side ready for battle.

Aside from all that, we love each other.

But I bristle at the idea of saying "thank you" to him. Why? Because even if the "thank you" is heartfelt, it is bitter.

I like to think I'm above pettiness, but when I feel I've been wronged, there is a petulant child inside me that refuses to forget about it. [Read about how we're hard-wired not to forgive.]

Associations with their internal politics are like that. With organizations that have been built around personalities and the drive of key members, inevitably there are egos involved in an atmosphere that can seem familial in positive and negative ways.

For Thanksgiving this year, how about we look at the other side of gratitude and work on forgiveness. If you are waiting for an "I'm sorry," providing a "thank you" can seem like torture, but isn't it worth it? To be bountiful in all things enough to move past someone's misdeeds?
  • To the boss who fails to promote you: Thank you.
  • To the direct report who talk about you behind-your-back": Thank you
  • To the board president who undermines you when you are out of the room: Thank you.
  • To the IT director who puts all your projects at the bottom of their to do list: Thank you.

It may hurt to say, "thank you," but maybe we're stronger for it. That's what I'm going with this year. How about you?

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