Did you know that saying “thank you” is a downright confidence booster? That each time you use the magical word, your self-esteem will grow, and you’ll walk a bit more upright? Sounds like day-dreaming? Not at all!
Maja Jovanović, sociologist and TEDx speaker, calls it right out: whereas “I’m sorry” is likely to lower your self-esteem, saying “thank you” instead will bring your confidence up a notch. Unfortunately, we tend to say “sorry” way too often.
Better “thanks” than “sorry”
Just try to pay attention for a day or two and listen to yourself and the people around you. How often do you hear “I’m sorry, I forgot to send that email”, “I apologize for being late”. Jovanović remarks that every time we apologize, we humble ourselves. Humble, in the word’s worst meaning, equals “to humiliate oneself”. So instead of constantly humbling yourself, just use a simple “thank you” to straighten up.
Let’s just say your boss calls you on not sending that email. Instead of apologizing with, “I’m so sorry, I just forgot to send that email!” say, “thank you for reminding me!”. This simple rephrasing will allow you to grow confidence and meet your counterpart on an eye-to-eye-level.
Give it a try! Get rid of all those needless apologies you have been using throughout the day and replace them with a firm and friendly “thank you”. This will not only let you gain immediate self-esteem, it also will make your counterpart perceive you as the self-confident person you deserve to be seen as.
Get your thanks right for a good relationship
To take a step back from an apologetic tone of voice when thanking someone for a favor will also enhance the quality of your everyday relationships. Be it with your spouse, family, co-workers or the clerk at public services. Psychology Today recently published an article on how big the impact of a simple “thank you” can be if placed skillfully. A research team of the University of Toronto found in a study with real-life partners how much better the spouses felt when their partners managed to thank them by pointing out their responsiveness.
If we manage to point out how significant someone’s support has been to achieve our goals, our “thank yous” will go a long way. At first, many of us would tend to sound apologetic, trying to verbalize our gratitude, “Thanks (sorry) for going out of your way to give me a ride to work”. Such phrases point out the cost on your counterpart’s account. They had to get out of their way. Your benefit goes on their account. You now owe them and better pay back soon to resolve the unpleasant feeling of imbalance in the relationship.
Point out the good performance
So what can you do? Take a taxi next time? Or is there a way to thank the other person in a way none of you needs to feel awkward? Again: keep your back straight. “Thanks for giving me a ride. Without your help, I could not have made it on time.” By giving the other person credit for their support being crucial for your success, you will make them feel good. You didn’t emphasize the sacrifice they made, you pointed out their good performance.
Simply put yourself in the other person’s shoes. How would you feel if you received such an acknowledgment? Appreciated and valued.
You see, a simple “thank you” will leave you as well as the other person behind with gratitude and lots of other positive feelings. It’s easy, friendly and will not do harm to anyone. Let’s swear off the apologetic terms and spread healthy “thank yous” around the world!