How do you show appreciation for what you have (accomplished, become, experienced, grown into)? What is the best way to give thanks?
Kindness Shows You Care
I try to keep kindness at the forefront. I think that being kind to people and things shows them that you care for and appreciate them. Kindness means giving someone the benefit of the doubt, not criticizing or picking them apart. Kindness means allowing space for a person to be who they are, and get to know them there instead of comparing them to your expectations. Kindness means open-mindedness, open-heartedness, and compassion. I learn kindness constantly from my partner whose sense of humor and positivity at every turn are nothing short of a daily inspiration. Who are the kindest people in your life? What do you love about the way they choose to live?
Learning Love Languages
When you understand the way a person most naturally feels loved, it's much easier to let them know you care. One person might feel all your love in a handwritten note, while another person will forever remember that time you brought them coffee at work. One person might get everything they need from a gentle squeeze, while another appreciates more than anything the 2 hours of quiet you gave them. (Love Languages)
Saying Thank You
Sometimes we assume people know that we appreciate them. Most of the time, people are so caught up in their own experience, they're not spending time reminding themselves that they're loved and appreciated. Help a friend and help the world by thanking someone today. Be specific and sincere, with no expectation of a particular response. Some of my favorite ways to say this are:
"Thank you for being you." or "I'm so glad you're you."
"I'm so glad you're in my life." or "You really make a difference in my life."
"Thank you for being one of my favorite people."
"You are so good at ____ and ____ and it makes such a difference to me."
"Thank you for continuing to choose to be my friend. I appreciate it every day."
It might feel awkward if you're not used to expressing your feelings so clearly, but the awkwardness fades very quickly into a warm feeling in the heart.
Releasing Expectations - A Gift to Everyone
There is no better gift, to another or to yourself, than releasing expectations. You are freeing a person from failure to live up to them. This is something that happens within you first. Later, it might feel appropriate to share this shift with the people involved.
When it comes to giving thanks this season, consider the most meaningful way to do it. What makes you feel expressed, and has an impact on the people and the world around you?