Apologies and gratitude


Thank you ……………. Sorry

Most readers of this blog have probably used these words countless number of times in their lives, at various occasions, to convey a plethora of emotions ranging from genuine gratitude to faked apologies. This post does not necessarily portend to relate to all these emotions, but rest assured a genuine attempt has been made to do so.

I am sure all of us have been taught as youngsters (by youngsters I am referring to the age when we actually learnt to speak to express our emotions a little better as small kids) to convey our gratitude to anybody who helps us out in any situation. Something as simple as somebody helping us lift a heavy bag, helping us get on a train, helping us out with directions, all of these people deserve our gratitude and we were taught to express the same by saying a simple ‘Thank you’.

On similar lines, we were also taught to apologize whenever we intentionally or inadvertently committed a mistake. We were taught to be sensitive to people around us, sensitive to their likes and dislikes, sensitive to the fact that our actions might cause them discomfort, cause them hurt. We were taught that saying a ‘Sorry’ might help them assuage their temporary inconvenience caused due to our actions.

For some of us this became second nature, but for a majority of us, these became forgotten expressions of gratitude and apology.

As we grew older and became more sophisticated and learnt the ways of the world, we started forming our own interpretations of people, the work they do, their duties and automatically our expectations from them increased manifold. Suddenly, the valet who opened the door for us everyday with a smile started being viewed critically. We started noticing whether his shirt was impeccably ironed, whether his body posture was that befitting a professional valet, whether the courtesy he showed us was adequate in comparison to our ‘standing in society’, and a myriad of other unnecessary things. And then we started judging his behavior on the job keeping in mind all these variables. Somewhere in this mix, we completely forgot the fact that hey, this was still a guy who was holding open the door for us whenever we walked in an out of the building, and that simple act still deserved our gratitude. Somewhere the simple ‘Thank you’ simply stopped being uttered.

Similarly, as we grew older, we once again started making ourselves the ‘center’ of our world. We started taking things and people for granted. At some levels we started behaving like what we think and what we do are the most important things in the world and nothing else mattered. Even if our actions caused people discomfort, we chose to ignore the same by telling ourselves that such minor indiscretions on our part did not matter much. Even when we were in elevators inconveniencing others by putting on our backpacks and continuously bumping into them, we didn’t care because we were lazy enough not to hold the backpacks in our hands. Even when we jumped queues in our hurry to get the best seats to the show, we didn’t care that the others in the queue had actually patiently waited their turn. Even when we jumped the lunch line to get that last piece of cheesecake, we didn’t care much for the others who might have wanted the same.

Age, money and a standing in society brought about an extremely callous and careless attitude in us. It taught us that saying a ‘Sorry’ or a ‘Thank You’ didn’t quite matter as much as it did when we were younger. It taught us that to apologize or to show gratitude was not quite necessary when you were ‘bigger’ and ‘better’ than others. It didn’t matter as these were unimportant traits which did not matter in the ‘bigger picture of life’.

Wonder when we will all come back to the ground and realize that each and every act that we do impacts others in more ways than one. Wonder when reality will bite us and we will realize that it is those random acts of kindness and gratitude that make us a more advanced and mature species than most others that exist in this world. Wonder when we will finally realize that simple expressions of apology and gratitude will go a long way in helping us get a little something extra from all the people we deal with on a daily basis.

Image courtesy: http://www.cartoonstock.com

This post was selected as one of Blogadda’s Tangy Tuesday Picks on August 13, 2013.