The people in our lives—family, friends, our significant other, an acquaintance, coworkers, neighbors, the mail person—greatly benefit when we express our appreciation for them. Expressing gratitude for another person doesn’t have to be grandiose, either. You can simply smile and say, “thank you.” Verbalizing thanks to other people can be more beneficial than we realize — both for them and for you.
When we take the time to truly thank someone verbally, with a text message, or a hand-written note, it validates our relationship with them. Or, in the case of a stranger, substantiates that person’s worth. Don’t discount how meaningful your gratitude can be to an acquaintance or new colleague — you don’t need to be a close friend for that moment to mean a lot to them.
At the end of the day, we all need to know that we are worthy of love and belonging.
Prioritizing gratitude reminds us never to take the people we love for granted. We never know how much longer that person has left to live. My grandfather’s sudden death last year was a vivid reminder to express love and gratitude to the people all around me. Similarly, a person can be severely depressed or even on the brink of suicide. Kind words of appreciation for that person’s character or actions may go a long way for someone in that grave state of being.
Never assume that because someone “seems happy” or has a big friend group that they’re less in need of appreciation. You might just change their life.
Personally, my love language is words of affirmation. I know when someone expresses appreciation for something I have done or said, it touches my soul in a way that literally nothing else can. Mark Twain once said that he could live off a good compliment for two months. I relate to his sentiment; it may not necessarily last me two months, but a good compliment can brighten the outlook of my whole week.
Be sure to personalize your gratitude based on who is receiving it.
Expressing appreciation for the people around us will look different, depending on that person’s personality and our relationship with them. In my previous romantic relationship, the way I showed appreciation was through acts of service. My previous girlfriend really appreciated when I took out her trash, did her dishes, and/or took her dog to the park. I made it a priority to do these things and also tell her how much I loved and appreciated her.
On the other hand, when I want to thank my youngest sister for something, I send her a text message. She is in high school and keeps a busy schedule. Sending a simple appreciation text helps me know that I care, even when we don’t see each other very much during the week.
Ultimately, telling the people around you that you appreciate them can strengthen your relationship with each other, give the other person encouragement, and simply brighten their day. Extending gratitude to others can motivate them to continue doing good; it also may give them strength to overcome a difficult situation. You’ll also find that sending positivity to others will brighten your outlook in the process.
What’s your favorite way to show appreciation? Tell us in the comments!