When is that last time you told someone, you appreciate them? More so showed them.
Do you let people know when you appreciate them or when you are grateful? Or expect them to just know? Like we are all mind readers (no offense to actual mind readers).
We often skimp on gratitude and appreciation, at least we don’t express it that often. I am not sure about you, but I am one of those awkward, struggle with getting the right worlds out, sometimes a little late to the party people. I feel grateful, I’m grateful for an awful lot but sometimes comes out as Happy Birthday..
Gratitude or appreciation?
Although similar gratitude is more the feeling of being grateful – an emotional response. Whereas appreciation is acting on the feeling of gratitude and showing someone, you are grateful – an element of recognition of a value, property or behavior. You would give appreciation to someone or something you were grateful for. Gratitude is an emotion; Appreciation is an act.
Many of us have no problem saying ‘Thank you’ to the point it’s almost an automatic response regardless of any emotional trigger behind it. More so we have been programmed these manners are polite – Please and Thank you are our staples – but is that enough?
Think of a time you told someone how grateful you were for their help, support or even just being in your life?
How did that moment make them feel? How did it make you feel?
Or maybe you can remember a time someone complimented you, praised your work, or gave you something, something you weren’t expecting, you didn’t buy or even ask for – just a token of their appreciation? It felt pretty good, didn’t it?
I think you’d be hard pushed to find a negative response to those questions.
Any one in any position in any situation can offer gratitude and appreciation. It can be an employer, employee, colleague, friend, family member, partner – heck I’m sure your dog won’t complain receiving a surprise treat and you’ll get appreciation tenfold in return, possibly end up covered in dog hair.
I know people who live and breath gratitude and appreciation. They could be on the side of the road on a remote country road, changing a flat tyre in the pouring rain without an umbrella and still be able to put a positive spin on the situation. I envy these people. I try. But this is not me.
My natural tendency is to be glass half full in most situations, and I try to compliment, appreciate and give credit when credit is due, but there are times when I struggle to get my wine past the halfway mark. Most of the time it’ll fill itself back up over time, but my initial reaction over the first drop can be a little… erm reactive.
If someone brings you joy, however, insignificant that might be, just tell them. Let them know how you appreciate them. That makes a big difference to their lives and to yours as well.
We know what it feels like to work tirelessly for someone or something and receive very little in return. Whether it be in work, your relationship or amongst friends. Sometimes it’s your assumption people don’t care, sometimes they just don’t and sometimes you’ve just overdramatised the whole situation in your overactive imagination. So why if it can make us feel this way do we not give back. “Well they don’t do it for me, so why would I do it for them?” Is a bad attitude. How are you going to change the cycle if you are not, yourself, willing to change? Be the change.
The best part of appreciation is that it costs you nothing. Nor does it absorb too much time. It mostly comes down to a lot of small common sense practices, and you’ll actually feel quite chuffed with yourself after.
- Don’t take people for granted, there is always a limit
- Remember to say thank you, and mean it
- Make it clear you are interested in someone’s personal growth (whether it be an employee, partner, colleague, family member or friend)
- Check in with people, see how they’re doing. Or even just a simple good morning never goes astray
- Give constructive feedback – both positive and developmental. But not at the same time. Never follow up something positive with something negative as the negative is all that will be heard
- If you’re an employer, make sure your employees are aware of their growth and development opportunities. What the future holds for them. Their productivity will increase if they know they are working towards something
- Be flexible – Nobody thinks the same, be mindful of this. Just because someone’s opinion is different, does not mean it is incorrect. Don’t belittle them, listen, and try and understand what they have to say. You might just learn something
- Make the time. A few minutes to show gratitude or appreciation to someone will be well worth it
- Make sure you are genuine. People will see through false compliments. Or compliments/gifts that are only for personal gain of the person giving the gratitude or appreciation
Try it out. Express more appreciation or gratitude to those around you and see what happens – You may be pleasantly surprised.
What a lot of people don’t realise is that there are a multitude of health benefits with being grateful and appreciative. I know what you’re thinking… So, you’re telling me it’s free, it will take very little effort AND I get benefits from it? Why the fuck did I not start sooner…
Let’s take a look at some of the rewarding benefits (and yes there is research to prove it)
Studies have shown that gratitude can bring a variety of physical, psychological, emotional and social benefits. It helps us appreciate all the positive elements of our lives and the people in it.
Although far from a cure for all the worlds problems, gratitude can help to keep us grounded and feeling positive, particularly in times of uncertainty.
It’s easy to get caught up in what our lives are lacking, to compare yourself to others and their seemingly perfect life with all their fancy toys and their soaring careers. Which leaves you feeling dissatisfied in your current situation, you forget to acknowledge the great you do have and in turn don’t appreciate it because you are looking for better – Social Media is an ass for making people feel this way. In saying that no one wants to be the one that posts all the woe is me shit either (little harsh?). You just need to take it for what it is – people sharing their joys with you – appreciate it!
The simple act of gratitude can help to alleviate these feelings.
Gratitude Journals and meditation seemed to be popular with a lot of people. Also not me. Wish it was. I like the idea and never get around to it. You can be more mindful without these. It’s as simple as responding with appreciation towards something you feel grateful for. Not hard. Start practicing.
Initially it might not be that easy to identify things you are grateful for. Here are a few prompts that may get the brain ticking over
- it’s the simple things. What is something that brings you joy daily? A freshly brewed coffee? Your favourite trackpants? Taking your bra off when you get home? The night time snuggles with your loved ones?
- think about the past. Think about your favourite memories, stand out events, or just times when you’ve felt content in your life.
- the ones you love. Friends, Family, Partner, even your colleagues can play a big role in your life. Think about the people whos love and support has helped you through difficult times and those who have been there with you through the good times.
- fresh air. Their is wonder and beauty all around us. Think about a place you love to go, mesmerising landscapes you’ve discovered, the warm sun on your face, the smell of freshly cut grass, the sand between your toes.
- be kind. the nice things people have done for you. No matter the size.
- well done. Look back on all you’ve achieved, what you are currently achieving. The mastered skills the goals you’ve smashed.
- at peace. The tranquil moments. The times when you’ve relaxed and enjoyed your surroundings. The peace, the quiet.
In todays world we are fueled by what is going wrong. The pain, the suffering. We’re wired to focus on things that pose a potential threat. We are made relentlessly aware of misfortune on a global scale. We’re not equipped to process that much information effectively, let alone negative information. Yet we keep looking for it and the more we look, the more we find. If we are driven by fear, the world will continue to show us how menacing it is. Furthermore, in today’s age, it is easy to find evidence to confirm any belief, no matter how false, no matter how poisonous.
This poison can progressively make us immune to all but the worst. Even when our glass is overflowing, if left untreated, we may find ourselves dehydrating. It’s necessary to remain grateful as failing to do so will leave us nothing but ungrateful and who wants to live in a world without gratitude and therefor appreciation. I personally thrive off a compliment or a gesture of appreciation. It is reassuring that you’re getting things right, making a difference or even just knowing you are loved and important to someone.
Awareness – the difference between being grateful and being ungrateful. Not attitude, not character. Not kindness. The ungrateful simply aren’t aware of the good, whether it’s because they are unaware or indifferent. They suffer more because of it.
Stopping to notice both the little things and thing we take for granted is your first step. Won’t necessarily be worth it, especially if your mind is automatically trained to focus on what you are not happy with. Pull yourself up if you feel a negative thought creep in, remind yourself of what there is to be grateful for, overtime this will become your natural response.
Stop taking for granted the good that is already present in your day to day life. Your home, your health, your loved ones, anything that gives you comfort. Start finding joy in the little things instead of holding out for big achievements, – a promotion, buying a home, having a big bank balance, having the baby, before allowing yourself to feel gratitude and joy. Put things in perspective – when things don’t go your way, is it life shattering? Look for the positive, is there a benefit in this? Cliché I know but I firmly believe everything happens for a reason. Sometimes an everything is cruel but a reason none the less.
I really could go on for hours on this topic as it is something that has caught my attention following recent events but you’ve probably had enough now. I leave you with a challenge. Try and practice a little more gratefulness in your life. Towards yourself, others and the world we live in. Be the change.
Life is alarmingly short. Don’t wait too long, you might just miss your chance.
One response to “you’re the shit.”
I am not sure about you, but I am one of those awkward, struggle with getting the right worlds out, sometimes a little late to the party people.
This sounds like me, though if we are using the metaphor late to the party in a literal sense, then as far as I am concerned, I am very reliable and punctual. 😉