Restore Balance: Read the “Thank You” Notes

Like you, I have days when it seems like nothing is going my way and I can’t do anything right. If I am lucky I will remember to go to the “thank you” drawer. My drawer contains letters and cards from clients and students who took time to thank me for helping them.

I don’t know why I don’t pull them out more often. Perhaps it feels prideful or egotistical to read praise from others. But I am going to make it a point to read them more often, and I hope you will too.

It is all too easy to think of the negative comments or embarrassing situations. They spring to mind so quickly and easily. (Even when they weren’t really our fault.) And yet, we often forget the positive situations until we are prompted by a card or a kind comment in the grocery store aisle.

Frequently, funeral professionals shrug off compliments and may reply, “I was only doing my job.” This is a common pattern that I have seen in funeral professionals; the tendency to minimize their contributions. Funeral professionals are about as modest a group as I have ever seen. They are careful to avoid being the center of attention and often downplay any compliments or praise.

But once in a while in a private moment, I hope you will take some time to remember the positive situations. Pull out a few "thank you" cards and allow yourself to feel really good about how you helped a person or family. Avoid downplaying what you did. It is healthy and normal to take pride in your accomplishments.

What is the most memorable (or unusual) thank you note or gift that you have ever received? Share your experience in the comments below.

Dr. Jason Troyer is a psychology professor, former counselor, grief researcher and consultant for businesses that want to better serve grieving families. He has written numerous aftercare materials, including the Finding Hope booklet series, and is a frequent presenter at funeral service professional events.

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This information is not intended to replace information from a mental health or medical professional. The reader should consult an appropriate professional in matters related to his or her physical and emotional health.

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