An Uncomplicated Life Blog: The Value Of Saying Thank You and I'm Sorry

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Monday, January 20, 2020

The Value Of Saying Thank You and I'm Sorry

It's common courtesy to say thank you, and we all know we should apologize when we're wrong - but are you using these two phrases enough?


I'm going to get real with y'all - this post isn't exactly a friendly PSA. This post comes from a place of frustration. I've recently been reminded just how important saying "thank you" is, and it also reminded me that coming out and saying "I'm sorry" is just as important. We all have people who do kind things for us, be it as small as holding a door open or as large as donating a large sum of money to a cause or donating a large chunk of time to help them with a cause that's near and dear to their heart. Saying sorry is equally as important; you've got to admit when you made a mistake and tell the people affected that you know you made that mistake and are sorry for it. But it seems like in today's day and age, people are really reluctant to say either of these things. In fact, I'm currently upset with someone because she has consistently NOT said either to me. I'm going to write about it in hopes that it encourages you to say one or both to whomever might need to hear it from you.


Keeping the details to a minimum to protect identity, let me share what's driving me so batty about this whole "thank you" business, or rather - the lack thereof. There's a person who is in the position to need not just a whole bunch of *my* stuff, but very specifically, stuff I already own and no longer have a use for. Not heavily used, worn or things in a crummy condition. Things that would still be insanely expensive to buy secondhand. Things that I owned and were in like-new condition. It wasn't just one thing or a one time donation to this person - it was a trickle of things over several months. Multiple installments of a wide variety of things. And not once did I ever get a thank you. Not. Once.

At first I didn't notice it. I think because part of me was just kind of relieved to get some of this stuff out of my home, and I was happy to help out. But then something weird happened; this person straight up demanded that I give her some things I was still using, because their situation was changing faster than anticipated. That's when I noticed the rudeness. The entitlement. And most importantly, the outright lack of a single thank you. We're talking THOUSANDS of dollars of stuff, all given for free. And not one damned thank you!

One day, a mutual friend sent me a text and asked me what was going on with the whole thing, and it was reassuring to know that it wasn't all in my head. The behavior of the one party was out of line and tacky, and other people were noticing as much as I was. That conversation got me thinking beyond the value of a thank you, and onto the larger scale of saying "I'm sorry" too. Both are equally important, and both things should be said every day. Yes, every single day.

That stupid book, "Girl, Stop Apologizing"? Sure, you don't need to apologize for yourself or the space you take up, but you absolutely should apologize for your behavior. When you do wrong, you say "I'm sorry" as you admit to your mistakes and the people you wronged.

My marriage isn't perfect, but one thing we both do really well is apologize to each other. It might be right away, it might be later that same day or even the next morning, but I'd say both my husband and myself are excellent apologizers. And a simple "I'm sorry" goes a long, long way - in a marriage, with a family member, in a friendship and perhaps most importantly of all, to your children.

I know I don't parent perfectly. Sometimes I yell way too loud or way too hard. Sometimes my punishments are too harsh. Sometimes I over-react. And in those moments, or shortly after them, I make sure to apologize to my kids. Whatever I'm doing I will stop, kneel down to my kids' level, look them in the eye and tell them I'm sorry for what I did, that I made a mistake and that I love them. I don't even ask for their forgiveness, but guess what? Me compassionately saying I'm sorry nearly always solicits a "That's ok mommy, I forgive you and I love you too!" back from them. And then we all move on and get back to playing.

You know what else? My kids also know how to say thank you. Server brings them a meal? I help them get their shoes on? They get a gift? Yup, from small to big things in life, my kids know the value of saying thank you. And they're learning the value of a sincere apology.

I'm not sure when, where or why it seems like the social grace of saying thank you and I'm sorry fell off the cliff. I don't understand why it's a hard thing to say. Not only does it humble you, but when you humble yourself first, it makes people like you more, want to help/give you more and think more highly of you. There's a tremendous value in saying thank you and I'm sorry. Make it a point to say both of these things everyday and watch your relationships vastly improve. 

8 comments:

  1. I agree that these are so super important!!! I wish parents taught this more to their kids!

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  2. You are right, thank you and apologizing are both important. It helps both the person saying it and the person hearing it.

    I'm sorry the person you've helped doesn't appreciate it. I can't even imagine why. Maybe they were never taught better? Maybe they have received too many free things in life and expect it/take it for granted.

    It was very kind and generous of you. As hard as it might feel at this moment, let it go. It's their problem not yours. You have a good heart.

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