It seems like two of the most important phrases are sometimes the hardest ones to say. Just last night I was chatting with a friend and we talked about how sometimes we rarely hear the word thank you and she mentioned that my hubby and I are really good at thanking one another. I didn't realize anyone had noticed. But it's something we do and it's instrumental in our marriage.
But I had to admit to her that it came about because of a big argument we had early in our marriage. I was nagging my husband about something and he retorted that I never said thank you and had asked when was the last time I had thanked him for something. I couldn't remember and it was a wake up call. As a result I make it a point to thank him for things that he does, whether it was making dinner, taking out the garbage, fixing something in the house, or just listening to me when I needed a sounding board. Over the last 7 to 8 years, it has become a part of of my everyday vocabulary. I thank him for at least one thing, but it's never insincere and I am truly grateful for whatever he has done for me or for our family. He does the same and it's really nice to feel appreciated. I think we all feel a little better about ourselves or the things we do when someone notices and thanks us for it. Who will you thank today?
I bet your thank you will make a difference in someone's day.
"I'm sorry" is the other important phrase. I think this one is much, much harder. It forces you to be humble and to admit when you're wrong and no one wants to be wrong. It can be a matter of pride and I remember in my younger years that I would not say I'm sorry, even if I should. Instead I would become defensive and try to justify myself when a simple and humble, "I'm sorry" would have sufficed. I think I could have avoided a lot of hurt feelings and resentment if I had just said, "I'm sorry." When I taught, I found that telling my students I'm sorry or telling them when I was wrong gave them more respect for me than if I had tried to hold onto my pride and not apologize. It's a hard and long lesson, but I think I'm better for it. My students have made me into a better person.
I'm definitely not perfect. I have a long list of friends and relatives that can tell you that I'm anything but perfect. But despite my imperfections, they manage to overlook most of them and still accept me for who I am. For that, I am grateful. Over the last 4-5 years I have really working on the type of wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter, in-law that I want to be. It's not easy for this mama who is stubborn, opinionated, obstinate, judgmental, and critical....(I know a few of you are chuckling. It's okay. Yes, I am all of those things and I know it...now). But I really have been working on being a better person. On the flip side I am loyal, caring, and honest.
Speaking of imperfections, I blew it on Thanksgiving. Big time. Something had happened and I became upset with someone. I said things that I shouldn't have said. I hurt her feelings. I realized it pretty quickly and sincerely apologized. Unfortunately, words hurt and are not easily forgiven. She left that night hurt and I ended the night upset that I had hurt her. I still haven't heard from her...
It seems like every time I take a step forward in being a better person, I put my foot in my mouth and take a ginormous step backwards. Forgiveness is not an easy thing. Unfortunately, in my family it was not something that was given easily or often. My side of the family holds grudges and we can hold them for a loooooooong time and freeze someone out pretty easily. Way too easily. If you've ever been on a receiving end of one of our grudges. I'm sorry. It's a terrible place to be. I've been on the receiving end and it's pretty awful. Over the years my husband has taught me in his humble way how to forgive and I continue to learn from him. I'd like to think I don't hold grudge anymore. It's unproductive and hurtful.
I try to recognize my faults and make up for them. With this most recent situation, I've sincerely apologized, and now I need to let time do its thing and heal the hurts. In the meantime I pray and wait for forgiveness...