Express Yourself. Kind words have a way of sticking with us. They lift our spirits, make us smile, and warm our hearts. And they make us feel valued, appreciated, and seen.
November is traditionally a season of giving thanks. We often talk about practicing gratitude as a way of recognizing the good in our lives. Today, we’ll talk about expressing gratitude to others for the difference they make in our lives instead.
Keep reading to learn why it’s important and some ways you can give the gift of gratitude to the people who show up for you.
Why It Matters
Having the ability to recognize the blessings that surround us is truly a great gift to yourself. Numerous studies exalt the many benefits that practicing gratitude on a regular basis can have on our mental and physical health.
We typically do this as a solo exercise, reminding ourselves to be thankful for big things – like our children, our health, and our home – and little things, like cruising through every green light on our way to work or the release of a new episode of our favorite show.
If it makes us feel good, wouldn’t it feel even better to share that gift with someone else?
All those yummy feelings you get from your gratitude practices – the happy memories that surface and the ability to be more present – can actually carry over to another individual if you take the time to express gratitude to them.
I hope that you have experienced selflessness and unexpected acts of kindness. I hope that, somewhere along the way, someone has come through in a very real and meaningful way. I’m sure that you thanked them at the time.
But if those selfless acts and helping hands have stayed with you, it might be the perfect time to reach back out to a person who lifted you up. Tell them how much of an impact they had and that you still hold that gratitude in your heart. Two great things come from this – you return a favor by lifting their spirits, and you simultaneously boost your own – because it feels good to do good.
Who Are You Grateful For?
To get started with this particular practice, make a short list (or a long one!) of people who stand out in your mind as valuable sources of support. It may be someone who has been by your side since childhood. Or it may be someone who delivered one significant and impactful need during a challenging time.
These people may come from a wide range of categories:
- Anyone who made a difference!
Consider the gift that each person on your list has given to you, and start by choosing just one that seems to resonate with you today. Then, think about how you’d like to express that gratitude to them in the present.
How to Express Your Gratitude
This isn’t a one-size-fits-all process by any means. How you choose to share your gratitude with others can be as unique as they are. The important thing is that it is meaningful to you, truly reflects the scope of what they mean to you, and is authentic.
Here are just a few of the ways you say thank you in a sincere and purposeful way:
- Write a Letter: Handwritten is best. Outline all the ways they helped you and be specific – if you remember the words they said or an act of generosity, share how much it meant to you. And leave them with a blessing – sincere well wishes or a heartfelt hope for their future.
- Make a Phone Call: Who wouldn’t love to reconnect with someone who had something lovely to say to them? If calling is an option, set aside a few minutes to express how thankful you are – and why. And have a backup plan in case you reach their voicemail!
- Special Delivery: Flowers on your doorstep with a thoughtful note. A gift basket or a bottle of wine. A framed photograph of the two of you – you and your hero – together. If gift-giving is your love language, this is the perfect way to put it to good use.
- Pay It Forward: If someone stepped up for you when you needed them most, do the same for someone else. Consider returning the favor when the object of your gratitude has needs of their own, or let their generosity inspire you to assist someone else.
Words of gratitude are a precious gift, nurturing our souls and unleashing ever-expanding ripples of pure, unbridled joy.
Gratitude is powerful. It keeps us grounded and connected to the world around us and the people who love us. Sharing that gratitude is like throwing a pebble in a lake and watching the ripples expand outward.
For my part, I am so grateful to you for visiting this page! Please let me know how I can return that favor.