"What's the magic word" or "What do you say!?" are phrases people often direct towards children in coaxing them to say 'thank you' ... if the kid feels like it or not! It's not that a parent / authority figure, etc shouldn't try to teach simple politeness and manners to children, but I've noticed that an explanation very seldom accompanies this order. When the child asks 'why?' the usual reply may be: "Just because I said so!" This is not going to give a single clue about the little ritual the child is expected to perform. It becomes simply one of those things a child is expected to perform because Mom or Dad or somebody 'said so.' This often results in a performance that doesn't come from the heart...but rote-like, empty words droned out of the kid's mouth who learns he will 'gain approval' if he responds correctly. The real meaning of thanks and gratitude is lost. Sadly, the child may not learn that genuinely meant thanks could open up a wide and wonderful world. To adults, too!
I am not putting down genuinely expressed gratitude... only pointing out that somewhere along the line if a parent would only take the time to explain to a child, (who can understand far more than we give them credit for), that being thankful or expressing thanks can indeed be magical --then the whole ceremony of 'giving thanks' would take on a self-empowering and magical meaning!
"Why should I say thank you, Mommy?" Child asks. Parent usually answers: "Because its polite, because people will like you, because people will think you are NICE, because it will make Mommy and Daddy look like they are doing their job," etc etc etc, and they may even throw in: 'God will think you are a good boy/girl.' "
So basically what children are learning is: If I say and do the right thing, I will gain the approval of others and that makes me 'good person.' What is really learned? -- I am only as good as others think I am. This is only one of the ways we begin to view ourselves in light of 'the rest of the world.'
When we say the right words and do the 'right things'... we then will be accepted, approved of, and given validation by the rest of the world... because that is how we 'earn the right' to approval. Our own feelings didn't count...in fact, they became harder to recognize. We learned we needed to be 'saved' from ourselves and made worthy by manipulating outside approval...
I am sure many of you have heard the phrase "Attitude of Gratitude"... It's a good one...if... it's really understood. It has nothing to do with the obligatory phrases we say to others 'at appropriate times.' It's an attitude toward Life. And best of all, it's a Tool to get into Alignment with Universal Source, with Feeling Good. It's like grabbing ahold of a torch that re-lights the Way when we are feeling our very worst.
Sometimes we have to give ourselves a little time to sit on that ol' Pity Pot! So, sit there awhile until you know you are tired of it. ...until you know that you want to feel differently.
That is incredibly important...because we ARE in charge... nothing will change for a loooong time unless we truly want to feel differently. So. Assuming that we do, maybe we should give this Attitude of Gratitude a spin ... Here is what we do.
First: Find something to be thankful for. And I don't mean that a Porche has to be sitting in your mansion's garage... Just look around at what you HAVE...and believe me...anyone reading this has a LOT more than what you may give credit to!
Just look around you...even at the 'little stuff.' Example: I'm thankful for: --my glasses, my box of kleenex, my cellphone, my computer and desk, my eyedrops, the chair I am sitting on, my clock, my lamp and its stand. the clothes I have on, the card table...etc etc etc ... Just average everyday things we take for granted. I know --there are the 'big important things' like family and friends and YES we need to often express thanks for them. Doing this, even if it's like a game, one will notice a gradual change in one's attitude. Sometimes quickly...sometime it takes awhile. That's ok. Don't take ANY of your feelings too seriously.
Abraham suggests people go on "Rampages of Appreciation" ... the more we practice it, the easier it becomes to keep away the blues, the times of self pity, the anger, depression, etc. And yes, it really works.__IF___we want it to. That is key to anything we do. Want. Desire. Intention.
The Universe gives us 'more of' what we are focusing on and giving our attention to. The aim here is NOT to 'feel good 100% of the time'... but to learn how to help ourselves feel better more often... to help us bounce back more quickly, rebound, recover.
We all know people who seem to be cranky and upset all the time, literally drowning in their supposed victimhood. They make a HABIT of negative thinking-- daydreaming the most negative scenarios, being constantly critical and fault finding. Their misery is self-imposed. We are all aware of those people who we love to be around! They don't bring you down or drain your energy and they are not always bitching -- to put it in plain language. They have learned to have a sense of humor about themselves. They have learned the art of appreciation for so many, many things. It became habitual.
Maybe...even out of curiousity, one could try playing the Thank You, Attitude of Gratitude game, for awhile. Giving it a heartfelt chance, one might find oneself being delighted with the results!! And FEELING GOOD is worth it!