The Thanksgiving holiday does a great job of bringing focus to giving thanks and feeling grateful. My family likes to go around the table and mention what we’re thankful for before digging in on a home cooked feast made with love. This year I am thankful for those who have supported my dreams and goals in the crazy year that was 2019.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to bring attention to the unspoken opportunity giving thanks can provide. We’ve been trained to say please and thank you from a young age, but despite our daily use of these words it is easy to forget their power. Just by a simple shift in mindset, you can use the power of giving thanks to positively influence your mind and interpersonal relationships.

Instead of saying I’m sorry, try saying thank you. Apologies focus on the apologizer and what was done wrong. A thank you is about the recipient and what was done right.

Let’s take a situation we have all been in: running late. For example, imagine you’ve left late to visit a friend and will be there 10 minutes past instead of right on the dot. A knee jerk reaction to the situation would be to apologize for being late, but what if you said, “Thank you for waiting for me” instead? Saying thank you shows gratitude to your friend’s time and friendship. It also puts focus on appreciating the time they did spend waiting instead of focusing on your own faults. By choosing to say “thank you” you will avoid diminishing your friend’s thoughts of you or your image of yourself. Instead, you will be bringing praise to what your friend did (such as waiting).

Next time you feel the need to apologize for yourself, try turning the apology into an opportunity to appreciate someone in your life. Turn “I’m sorry for going on and on” into “Thank you for listening to me,” or turn “I’m sorry I made a mistake on that report” to “Thank you! Good catch,” or turn “I’m sorry to take up so much of your time” into “Thank you for spending your time with me!”

This Thanksgiving I invite you to focus on giving thanks instead of apologizing. Saying thank you is a powerful way to take away from ourselves and give warmth back to others