Every time I write an email to a teacher, I find myself typing “thank you” at least twice. A lot of you probably do the same thing.

As a young woman, I constantly feel the pressure to minimize myself and make myself more convenient for everyone around me. I have found that my saying “thank you” to people has become a form of apologizing for myself, much in the same way as I say “sorry” when I think I’m asking a stupid question. Don’t get me wrong- it’s a good thing to be grateful! I know that I am extremely privileged – #firstworldproblems, anyone? – and I owe gratitude to many, many people. But sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between authentic, sincere thankfulness and the kind of thanking that I do when I think I *might* be bothering someone a little. By the way, thank you so so much for reading this, I know you’re probably busy, and I really appreciate that you’re doing this for me!

Over-thankfulness happens when I think that I’m not worth someone’s time, so they’re doing me a huge favor by helping me. It occurs when I feel like I’m being a pain, and whoever is dealing with me has SO MUCH patience. It’s another way for me to subconsciously diminish myself and devalue my contributions. Now, before I get too psycho-babbly, let me say that I think this kind of over-thankfulness affects everyone, not just girls. We live in a culture that looks down upon overconfidence and places the highest value upon humility. Still, we have to recognize that girls are most often the victims of socially forced insecurity. It’s important to keep in mind that you are worthy of their time. You are not bothering them. I definitely need to work on this too. So let’s do it together: next time we start to over-thank someone, we’ll limit it to one sincere “thank you”. That’s enough. You are enough too.

Thanks and kisses!

~ Zoe

Artwork: Grace