What My Elders Taught Me About The Importance of “Thank You”

My mother and grandmother had very different personalities. 

I remember, they would fight and disagree, and often butt heads. My mother is such a giving person, almost to a fault. She would always put another’s needs before her own, and my grandmother was very independent and ashamed when she required help. 

Maybe this rings true for you too, maybe you are this type of person. 

And that’s why, as we enter into this holiday season together, it felt like the perfect time to share one phrase, in particular, that has the power to connect us and transform exhaustion in to reward. 

Here’s a lesson to help us all enter into this holiday season with gratitude and giving…

It came as quite a surprise when my grandmother’s condition deteriorated and she needed round the clock care, that my mother stepped in. 

Instead of putting her in an assisted living facility my mom became her primary caregiver. This caught most of my family off guard a bit, my grandmother included – she didn’t take this transition with much grace either. 

You see, she was a very independent person and so having someone else (especially my mother) help her with simple daily life, was incredibly hard for her to accept. 

So she expressed this constantly by telling my mother, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry to have you do this…” 

And my mother’s response is the lesson I want to share with you today.

When my grandmother would say “I’m sorry” my mother would reply:

“I don’t want to hear “I’m sorry” I want to hear “thank you” instead.”

Despite her exhaustion and the reality of the difficulty of caring for someone during their last weeks of life, my mother was able to express what she needed, so simply and so beautifully. 

This change, from “I’m sorry” to “thank you “ would melt away the stress, fatigue and frustration of the situation and transformed each act into an act of acceptance and gratitude. 

This change created a profound symbiosis in their dynamics. 

My grandmother started saying “Thank you for feeding me, thank you for helping me, thank you for changing me.” 

And that really changed the way they felt about each other. 

This simple change in language made an act no longer a chore or burden, but a gift. 

It was a tangible change between the two of them. You could see it in their eyes and feel it in the way my mother would soften after she heard this gratitude.

Then, at the end of her life, my grandma found the best way to say thank you. 

She said she was happy and proud that her son had chosen her to be his wife. She went on to say that if there was such a thing as the next life, she wanted my mother there with her in it. 

20 + years of struggle, that moment melted 20+ years of history between them…

So as we head into the busy holiday season, remember to find gratitude. Remember to take time for self-care and not apologize for needing to take a moment away from the chaos. 

And most importantly,  if there’s somebody you need to say something to – say it. 

It could change everything. 

From the depths of my heart, dearest Face Yogi, thank you. 
Thank you for reading the deepest journeys of my life. 
Thank you for tuning in and following me on social media.
Thank you for embracing an idea or a concept that may have seemed crazy at first.
Thank you for being a positive light in this world.
Thank you for using the lessons I offer to help make our communities a more beautiful and accepting place. 

I am eager to enter into the happiest holiday season yet with you alongside me…