Why Saying Thank You is Narrow-Minded
Posted by Michael Dickens on May 25, 2010
Saying thank-you does seem to be a kind deed; and indeed it is. But giving thanks, at least in the conventional manner, is rather narrow-minded — and even could be considered selfish.
We typically give thanks for a deed that is beneficial to us. Even if it is not very significant, we are nearly always the recipient of the action that prompted the gratitude. In this way, giving thanks can be seen as a self-serving deed.
How? When we give thanks, the person we are thanking feels appreciated. This person is more likely to continue to do good things for us in the future. We are increasing the happiness of the other person, but mostly increasing the future benefit for ourselves.
Giving thanks is by no means a bad thing. It benefits both parties involved. But, at least when used in the conventional manner, it is narrow-minded and even selfish.
What would be an unselfish way of giving thanks? The best way to give thanks — the one that would benefit the most people — would be to give thanks to anyone who did an extraordinary deed. This is the most selfless way of showing gratitude. Plenty of people most certainly do give thanks in this way, but they just as certainly do not do it consistently.
Gratitude is a wonderful thing. Its benefits are exactly why it should be spread — even to those who did not help you personally.