We live in a time of 24/7 cell phones, overwhelming demands on our time, increased financial pressures, and constant multi-tasking. In the midst of the ensuing chaos, we often take for granted our most important relationships—our family members, close friends and life partners. We may expect those close to us to know what we need, and then feel disappointed when they do not deliver. We forget to acknowledge a gift we received. We text a quick unclear response rather than make a phone call. And we may feel overdone and underappreciated for all we do to help, support, and take care of for those around us.
Running the hectic racetrack of our lives, we often forget the value of reminding those around us how much we appreciate them, and how much they really DO mean to our day-to-day lives. Practicing appreciation provides us a moment of gentle and delicious pause. We are offering recognition to the receiver and bringing joy to the giver. Appreciation is an essential ingredient to nurturing and deepening our relationships, and creates a solid foundation for us to get through the tough times with grace.
When your friend or partner does something simple, do you remember to say, “Thank you—I really appreciated that you did that!” We may feel undervalued or underappreciated, but this can also be a reflection of our own neglect in verbalizing and expressing our appreciation to those around us. Take time each day to express gratitude and appreciation, even for the small things, to those close to you.
A wonderful way to add more appreciation and gratitude into your personal relationships is to practice random acts of appreciation. There are many little ways to say “I really appreciate you in my life” that only take a moment, but can have a lasting and meaningful impact.
Our ability to show appreciation to the important people in our lives is too often ignored. When people feel taken for granted and undervalued, it can eat away at their self-esteem and destabilize precious relationships. Adding moments of authentic appreciation into daily conversations and communication nurtures and revitalizes relationships. As we appreciate others, we often begin to recognize increased appreciation shown to us as well.
- Say “thank you.” Practice saying a genuine and heartfelt thank you to your partner, family and friends every day. Think about how to make the moment stand out meaningfully. How about sending a thank you note in the mail? Or calling instead of sending a text or email? And practice being clear and specific: “Thank you so much for taking the time to sit and explain that to me. I really appreciated your time!”
- Practice a random act of appreciation each day this month. Is there a belated birthday you can acknowledge? Can you surprise a friend with a visit? Send a small gift to a parent or relative just to say “hi” and “I love you.” Leave a hidden note for your partner to find, that simply says, “I love you and appreciate you every day.” Think each day about how you can send out a shining light of appreciation to an important person in your life.
- Pick up the phone. All too often a text or an email is a substitute for actual human-to-human, voice-to-voice communication. Nothing shows appreciation more than direct acknowledgment.