Gratitude. A simple word that carries so much meaning.
It's easy to throw around phrases like, "Thank you", and "I appreciate that", in the midst of our busy, hectic lives.
But is there any meaning behind these words? Do the people we say them to really know how much we care?
Showing gratitude to friends, family, and coworkers is an important part of maintaining healthy relationships – but it's not always easy to do.
Are you unsure of how to show gratitude to those who mean the most?
Keep reading to learn the true meaning of gratitude and effective ways of showing it.
What is Gratitude?
If you've never thought long and hard about what gratitude really is, now's the time.
By definition, gratitude is the quality of being thankful. It's the readiness to show appreciation for something or someone and to return kindness.
William Arthur Ward once said, "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a gift and not giving it."
Here are some simple ways to show gratitude in your everyday life.
How to Show Gratitude to My Friends
They say actions speak louder than words. One of the best ways to show gratitude is by doing something kind for a friend.
Think about what's affecting them right now and what small act could improve their current situation. Maybe it's buying them coffee, sending flowers to their work, or offering to make dinner for their family.
If these gestures seem too grand, write them a simple note. Include a specific act of kindness they did for you and how it positively impacted your life.
How to Show Gratitude to My Family
We often take those closest to us for granted. Don’t assume that your family knows you’re grateful — take steps to show them.
Give them a personal item that is special to you and tell them why you want them to have it. It could be a piece of jewelry, a photo, or another keepsake. When they look at it, they’ll be reminded of your gratitude.
Another powerful tool is to tell each member of your family a single skill, talent, or attribute of theirs you admire most. We’re often our own worst critics. They’ll be flattered and touched to hear how they inspire you.
How to Show Gratitude When I Don't Know How
Showing gratitude doesn't come naturally to everyone. Even if you feel grateful in your heart and know in your mind that you should express it, it can be difficult to do so.
For those who aren’t used to showing gratitude, start with small gestures. A simple “thank you” or a hand on the shoulder with a smile lets people know you’re grateful for them.
Bring a coworker coffee or an extra muffin or cookie you baked at home. Leave it on their desk with a note or anonymously.
A simple gesture without words is sometimes the most powerful of all — and easiest for those who don’t know how to show gratitude.
When in doubt, speak what's on your mind. You can't go wrong by saying exactly what you feel, as long as it's kind and positive.
Showing Gratitude Makes You Feel Good
Knowing how to show gratitude to others is about more than just making them feel good. By showing gratitude to others, you feel better about yourself as a person.
Being kind is infectious. One act of gratitude might trigger another and so on, spreading positivity throughout your life.
Do you need help spreading positivity throughout the workplace? Meet our team of professionals and learn more about the many issues we address.
Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea®. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.