A gift that is freely given, gratitude is a selfless act. It’s an emotion that can connect us with others or to a specific purpose, and can motivate us in our everyday lives.
Gratitude by itself is defined as the quality of being thankful, a readiness to show appreciation for and show kindness. Sometimes we can be at a loss when we want to express gratitude to someone – whether they’ve sent a kind gift, helped you when you most needed it or provided comfort during a difficult time.
So, how can you express gratitude to those you’d like to? Here are 6 simple yet meaningful ways to express your gratitude to others:
1. Write a Thank You Note
Snail mail is certainly not out-of-date, and many people still love to get cards in the mail. A thank you note can hold every ounce of gratitude that you wish to express, and often it means more because the recipient knows that you’ve taken the time to sit down and write to them. Plus, it’s also a nice little memento to keep should they choose to.
2. Tell Someone How Much They Mean to You
Sometimes the easiest way to express your gratitude for someone is simply to tell them how much they mean to you. Tell them why they are such a special person, and how their qualities enhance your life. Sometimes a kind word really is enough to turn someone’s day around.
You could give them a sweet list of what you are thankful for, or you could share your thoughts with them over a phone call or video chat.
3. Spend Time Together
Time spent together is never wasted – especially if it’s to show appreciation for a kind word or action.
If you’re unable to meet in person, one way to get around a distance barrier is with a phone call or video chat. Try scheduling a time to virtually enjoy a meal together or have a coffee – it may not be the same as seeing each other in person, but it’s still meaningful!
4. Smile – It Does More Than You Realize!
A smile carries more weight than you might think. For some, a smile says more than words ever can – and therefore, can mean the world to someone. If you’re at a loss for words the next time you’d like to express your gratitude, try a smile – not only will it make you feel good, but it will make the other person feel good, too.
“Say thank you with a beautiful smile, kindness costs us nothing.”
5. Pay It Back or Pay It Forward
If you are wanting to show appreciation for someone, returning the favor can be a great way to do it. Help them in their garden, deliver a favorite dessert, or send them a few dollars for a coffee on you. Gestures like these can make their whole day brighter.
If the person you’d like to show appreciation to is a total stranger, pay it forward by doing the same for the person behind you. Kindness can set off a chain reaction, and you could be a part of it.
“Any time you can see someone’s reaction when you do something they’re not expecting, it’s a whole different type of happiness.”
6. A Simple “Thank You” Says It All
Sometimes the most powerful way to express gratitude is to simply say ‘thank you.’ These two words are so significant, and can make a huge impact when said to someone that you are truly grateful for.
Words are powerful, and when you can see the meaning in someone’s eyes as they say them, it makes them even more so. However, if you can’t say thank you in person, you can always do so over the phone.
“Nothing tops a sincere “thank you!”
It’s an interesting conundrum – oftentimes, we find it easier to share appreciation than to receive it. It can feel awkward and uncomfortable to receive compliments or someone else’s gratitude for something that may not have seemed like a big deal to you. Here are a few tips to help you accept gratitude the next time it comes your way:
- Allow yourself to experience happiness. You are allowed to feel happy that an action you took made someone else grateful. Smile, and say ‘you’re welcome.’ They will see that you mean it.
- Say “thank you” in return. If someone has given you a gift or a compliment in order to show their gratitude, savor the moment and say ‘thank you,’ they will appreciate the moment that you’ve shared together.
- Take a breath before responding. When being shown gratitude, often it can be best to pause before we say anything. This will give us the time to say what we would truly like to say, rather than the first thing that comes to mind.
- Share how their gratitude makes you feel. Sometimes sharing our joy in one’s gratitude can make us feel vulnerable – however, as long as you are sincere with what you say, there is no wrong way to respond.
How Else Do You Show Gratitude?
Life offers so many moments to give and receive gratitude. We sincerely hope these tips have offered you some helpful guidance on how to openly express and receive this kindness.
What are some of your favorite ways to show your appreciation? What have been some of your favorite ways you’ve been thanked? Please share with us and the rest of the CaringBridge community in the comments below!