My mom instilled in me the practice of thanking people. While I for sure know I will always have room to grow in this practice, I'm grateful that she taught me how to send thank you notes or give thank you gifts or even just say thanks to others. But she didn't teach it to me as a "thing you do" but instead as an overflow of a thankful heart when someone took time out of their lives to do something, give something, or serve others. So, when I give thanks, it's most definitely genuine and very often pales in comparison to what I'm really feeling.
Anyway, there are people I'm probably not as good with thanking, mostly because I think they probably don't want to hear from me.
So I've been going to my gym consistently for over a year. Through that time, there are several classes that I've been going to week in and week out, and yet the instructors have no earthly idea who I am. I'm not sure why, but I guess I always figured they'd have no interest in knowing my name or what I thought. Probably goes along with my core struggles...
A few weeks ago, a girl I go to class with asked me if I'd be interested in joining her, our instructor, and another girl for dinner. I said sure and, during that time, realized that this instructor, Maggie, had noticed me through the year. She said she's actually a little shy and tends to not introduce herself to members thinking they may just want to workout. But that she always enjoys knowing the people in her class. Since then, it's been so fun to see her at the gym and say hi!
After that encounter, I decided to be brave and tell my favorite instructor, Julie, thanks. She teaches my favorite zumba class and I genuinely credit some of my love for fitness and boldness to try other classes to her class. At the same time, though, I was sure she'd have no interest in knowing who I was since there's 50+ people in that class. Anyway, I ended up emailing her first as I also had a few questions about training and knew I wouldn't be at the next class. She responded appreciatively and asked that I introduce myself.
I happened to see her today and so was brave (yes, I realize I have issues...) and walked up to her. She said she was thankful I took the time to write her as usually the feedback they receive is someone complaining. She then said she had seen me in class and was apparently going to ask me something once recently (I was dancing weird because of my back), but didn't want me to feel called-out in front of that many people.
Anyway, it was a fun lesson for me. Maybe I'm not as invisible as I sometimes feel. Maybe people do notice me and I just need to step outside of my comfort zone and approach them.
Maybe I'll start working on building that practice. And it is fun that, after a year of going, I'm starting to make "gym friends." :)