Heidi Grant wrote an article for Harvard Business Review titled Stop Making Gratitude All About You.

« Recent research suggests that people often make a critical mistake when expressing gratitude: They focus on how they feel — how happy they are, how they have benefited from the help — rather than focusing on the benefactor. »

« Researchers Sara Algoe, Laura Kurtz, and Nicole Hilaire at the University of North Carolina distinguished between two types of gratitude expressions: other-praising, which acknowledges and validates the actions of the giver, and self-benefit, which describes how the receiver is better off for having been helped. »

«Examples of their expressions include:

Other-praising

  • It shows how responsible you are…
  • You go out of your way…
  • I feel like you’re really good at…

Self-benefit

  • It let me relax…
  • It gave me bragging rights at work…
  • It makes me happy…»

« Finally, benefactors rated how happy they felt… The researchers found that other-praising gratitude was strongly related to perceptions of responsiveness, positive emotion, and loving — but self-benefit gratitude was not. »

« Yes, your helper wants you to be happy, but the motivation to be helpful often is tied directly to our own sense of self-worth. We help because we want to be good people, to live up to our goals and values, and, admittedly, to be admired. »

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