There are widely different views on saying thank you, and how it relates to spirituality.
In classic theosophical circles, at least here in The Netherlands, saying thank you is a bit of a taboo I’ve been fighting. It is thought that people who need a ‘thank you’ for their efforts are really not as devoted to the cause as they should be.
I always turn that around: while it is great if you don’t need to be thanked for something you did, you can’t expect others to be there yet. That’s up to them. In the meantime, thank them for what you appreciate. It’s good manners.
On the flip side there are loads of people who think that being thankful is a spiritual practice in itself. Gratitude practice and all that. I’m a bit skeptical about that too (doubting me). However, research seems to support this attitude more than the previous one.
studies have suggested that being grateful can improve well-being, physical health, can strengthen social relationships, produce positive emotional states and help us cope with stressful times in our lives.
Of course that doesn’t mean one should PRACTICE gratitude, merely that being grateful is a positive force in one’s life. Which is pretty self evident. On the flip side, my mom is convinced one of the reasons the Dutch are one of the happiest people in the world, is because we love to complain. Then again (me talking), it might just be because we have such a good social security system, which leads to less worry about failure, which leads to less stress, which makes people happier. Not that we’re likely to be able to keep it up though, but that’s another story.
Back to the topic.
It turns out that thanking people makes those people more likely to help: not just you, but also other people who come asking for it. It’s apparently about social anxiety: is my help really appreciated? If people thank us, we know that it is, and we feel safer helping the next person.
Personally I can relate: when I think of helping someone, I do think about whether they might appreciate it or not. And if I think they will, I’m more likely to do it. It’s hard to know whether being thanked makes me personally more helpful. However, the sincerity of the appreciation does play a part. When I get the sense that someone just thanks everybody for their contribution, it means less when they thank me.