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HindustanTimes Fri,24 Oct 2014

A calmer you: Where is my thank you?

Sonal Kalra, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 16, 2014
First Published: 19:24 IST(16/8/2014) | Last Updated: 19:32 IST(16/8/2014)

Haylo good people, when was the last time someone close to you said “Thank You” to you? And not in a perfunctory, you-handed-them-a-glass-of-water-and-they-said-thanks way. I mean, took out the time to acknowledge and appreciate something good you’d done? Can’t recall? Ha, ha…join the perpetual whiners’ club. I’m a member too. A lot of us are fed up of not being appreciated for something good we think we’ve done. Some feel their spouses take them for granted, some feel their bosses believe in pointing out only the faults and not patting the back for a job well done. And some feel their friends make them do all the hard work, without so much as acknowledging the effort.

We keep saying we need to see it in actions but secretly we all crave to be told, in so many words, that someone appreciates us. And when the golden praise words are not forthcoming, we feel grumpy, annoyed, irritated, fed-up. I’m not sure if our frustration affects the party that is the cause for it, but it sure affects our peace of mind and disposition. Actually I’m quite sure it doesn’t affect them, because our constant griping about not being praised actually gives them a reason to brand us as whiners and make us feel worse. So who should be taking action to change the situation? We should, and not them, silly.
Therefore, in response to the tear-dripping mails I got from Sakshi, Anurag and Riya last week about how life sucks, I’m gonna suggest calmness tips for us, not them.

1 Why should they? ‘Thank You’ is a great phrase. It’s polite, it’s gratifying, it’s charming. It’s non-obligatory too. The trouble arises when we start expecting the Thank You’s in our life. Years ago, I was writing for a magazine, which required me to feature the tech initiatives introduced by the government in a different Indian state each month. As a matter of course, I would get a thank-you message or note from the concerned senior officer of the state that got featured.
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After a while, I started looking forward to those messages as my right. So when one state’s department head did not even bother to acknowledge the comprehensive feature I’d done with a lot of hard work, I felt really hurt at how rude he was. And I nursed this grudge till one day I had to slap myself out of it. What the hell was I thinking? I got paid for the work I did, since when did appreciation from someone become a rightful part of my dues?

Also read: A calmer you: so who’s running your life for you?

My point is, if you’ve done some good work — at home, in office, anywhere (yeah yeah, even those of you who went out of your way and beyond the call of duty), you did it because it would have given you satisfaction. So don’t try to put a gun to someone’s head and demand appreciation. If they do it, great. If they don’t, you’ve still earned good karma, move on. Don’t just stand there cribbing.

2 The appreciation that matters is — your own: Have you ever thought of saying thank you to your own self? I’m not suggesting you turn a weirdo and start speaking to yourself, but in terms of rewarding yourself for a job done well. Trust me it feels great. It may sound philosophical and spiritual, but try it in a practical sense.

Give yourself a small reward for something nice you’ve done for someone. Indulge in some self-pampering and the need to hear it from others will gradually lessen. And interestingly, you’ll see praise coming your way when you’ve least expected it, and it’ll seem sweeter.

Also read: A Calmer You: Whose life is it, anyway?

3  Ask for it: If you find yourself physically incapable of turning the saint I’ve suggested you become by following the above, at least learn to tell someone what you’re expecting. It’s not as if they don’t want to appreciate you, sometimes it just doesn’t occur to them. Throw self-respect in the river and ask for acknowledgement of your efforts if you are convinced you deserve them.

If you start saying ‘it’s the most amazing food I’ve ever had’ for something you’ve cooked, the poor hubby better join the chorus. Don’t try this logic at work, though. The boss may just smack the air out of your pompous self. Still no harm in seeking a genuine feedback on something good you’ve accomplished. People find it really hard to burst someone’s self-congratulatory bubble. You’ll get your ‘well-done’s.’ Mission accomplished.

Sonal Kalra took her own advice seriously and posted thank-you notes to herself. Those who care for her are now looking for a good psychiatrist. Mail your calmness tricks at sonal.kalra@ hindustantimes.com. Follow her on twitter @sonalkalra


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