You’re very welcome

MH900301166I have a colleague that has this small habit which I really like. She always takes time to say “You’re welcome” whenever someone thanks her, be it in person, through emails or via text messages.

Simple. But I notice how warming it feels for me to have received those small messages of “You’re welcome” from her, every single time. So I learned to do it myself, to take time to say “you’re welcome” every time someone thanks me.

It initially feels like an extra efforts, since we are (read: I am) not used to it. How many times do we reply to say “you’re welcome” when we receive an email?

We often think that the “Thank you” email marks the end of the conversation. Well, guess what, we can extend it one step further with a short email, saying “My pleasure’, or “You’re welcome”.

Even when speaking in person, when we do say “you’re welcome”, how often do we look the person(s) in the eyes and say it with a sincere smile?

Ever notice how we are when we are at a checkout counter in a department store or supermarket? When the cashier says thank you, notice how they often don’t look us in the eyes. It’s a standard operating procedure.

Notice, however, how they would be a bit startled when you return their greeting by saying “you’re welcome” while looking at their eyes and smiling— notice too how we would also be started by their being startled.

At that moment, it’s not so much a matter of courtesy or SOP anymore. It has turned into a real meeting between us and the person we are communicating with. We acknowledge the human who is before us and give full respect to the interaction that is going on. Connection happens.

Human relations, and human’s relations with nature, has been underplayed by the so-called modern life. We move too fast. Our mind gets caught up with worries and anxieties. We do not take enough time to slow down and pay attention to what is going on within and around us. We miss out on things and we don’t realize it.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if once in a while we remind ourselves to slow down and pay more attention to the details of everyday life? To make an effort to (re-) connect to our surroundings, to cultivate the relations that we potentially have, and basically to breathe and enjoy life?

In the words of the 13th century Persian Poet, Hafiz:

“Everyone
is God speaking.
Why not be polite and
Listen to
Him?”

I am certain that we will then be amazed. Thank you.

The article was first published on the Jakarta Globe’s blog. The picture was taken from the same article.

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