Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Expressing Gratitude

Akseli Gallen-Kallela [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Expressing our feelings to others can be difficult. In a Templeton survey they found 90% of respondents said they were grateful for their families, and 87% said they were grateful for their closest friends. However, only 51% said they reflect daily on their gratitude and only 48% actually expressed those feelings on a regular basis.

Hmm, makes a person wonder why there's such a big disconnect between how we feel and what we think and say. And especially when it comes to the people we love the most. I suppose some may feel that those closest to them should know how they feel without saying it. But do they? Do we have to actually vocalizes appreciation or do our actions speak louder than words.

Do our friends know how much we cherish and value their friendships? Do our family members know how much we love and appreciate having them in our lives? And what about our spouses?

Friendships . . .
I love my friends, and I hope they know it. I've often wondered what I could do to show how much I appreciate them. An unexpected thank you note helps, but I want to do something more. A friend told me that for Valentine's Day she and her daughter decided to have an appreciation lunch for five of their closest friends. She said it was amazing. After their friends arrived she and her daughter told each of their friends five things they appreciated and loved about them. Everyone had a wonderful time and became even closer. What a great idea! I'm definitely going to give that a try.

Family . . .
You see your family most every day. You eat your meals together, live in the same house, surely they know that you love them. But what if they don't? Yikes! Sometimes just going out of your way to make their favorite meal, slip an encouraging note in their lunches, or even just sitting together and watching a movie shows that you care. However, why not top it off with three little words, I love you. I know when I tell my grandson I love him, he gives me a hug and something melts inside my heart.

Spouses . . .
My husband rarely says he loves me out loud, but I know he cares because of what he does. It's the little things: filling my car up with gas, going out on wintery nights to buy chocolate, or taking out the garbage without my asking. His actions say a lot. Sometimes he'll do something nice and I don't see it for a week or so. He's not one to boast, so I really need to be on my toes. But when I do realize he's done something and I say how much I appreciate it, he gets a big smile on his face.

Doing little acts of kindness coupled with being recognized with someone saying thank you goes a long way in letting people know we love them. Saying I love you is important, but so are our actions.

In what category do you fall? Do you let your actions speak for you? Do you say the magic words thank you and I love you? Or do you do it all?


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