“I appreciate it.” How many times a week do you say that? It’s a phrase I often used before a bit of self-reflection led me to realize that the phrase isn't really saying what I feel when I am in a state of appreciation.
A favor, gesture, or gift cannot feel appreciated. But the person extending said gift definitely can. So perhaps, “I appreciate you” would be more fitting. This is just one small but powerful way to let others know how much I appreciate them.
Read on, and I hope to open your eyes, and your heart, to just seven ways you can show appreciation to others, and why it is so important.
- Why showing appreciation is so important
- 7 ways to show appreciation
- Wrapping up
Why showing appreciation is so important
Imagine this scenario:
You have been working all day on perfecting a very important presentation you must give at the end of the workday. As you are giving your presentation, you notice that no one is even paying attention. At the end of your talk, everybody leaves the room without showing appreciation for anything you've done.
I don’t know about you, but this lack of appreciation would make me feel very undervalued and unimportant. According to Psychology Today, when someone shows they appreciate you or your work, it helps you feel validated and seen; connecting us as humans, friends, and loved ones.
Showing others you appreciate them can also create more smiles and a more improved, positive mood. These effects are felt not only in the person being shown appreciation. Showing appreciation makes one feel intrinsically good. And in today’s world, we could all use some smiles and good feelings!
7 ways to show appreciation
There are countless numbers of ways you can show someone you appreciate them and their actions. I have listed just seven ways.
1. Say thank you
One of the simplest ways to show you appreciate someone is to simply say “Thank you!” You can say the actual words to the person, or write a note, or put post-its up for them to find. However you choose to thank someone, be specific and let them know what they did (or didn’t do) that made you so appreciative.
There are many ways to say thank you; numerous phrases or actions. Find what way makes you feel comfortable while relaying the message that you are thankful and appreciative.
2. Start by appreciating yourself
Do you ever show yourself any appreciation? “If you have difficulty openly appreciating others, it is likely you also find it difficult to appreciate yourself,” states Tony Schwartz in a Harvard Business Review article.
At the end of the day or week, try looking back at what you accomplished or changed for the better or anything that you are proud of, no matter how small or menial it may seem right then. Tell yourself you did good and you are proud of yourself. Eventually, this will become second nature and you will find larger things about yourself that you appreciate. Then you can really start to appreciate those around you.
3. Remind yourself to appreciate others
If you are not used to showing appreciation to others, it can be difficult at first to even remember to do so. Find a way to remind yourself. Global Leadership recommends putting coins in one pocket, and every time you show appreciation to someone, transfer that coin to another pocket.
That is just one trick. Another thing you could try is writing a list of people you come across throughout the day and what they did that made you appreciate them. Then make sure you let them know. Find what visual or tactile aid works for you. Make it something simple.
4. Pay attention and listen empathetically
When someone is talking to you about any situation or feeling or whatever is on their mind, don’t just listen to them talk. Make sure you hear what they are trying to tell you. They are trusting you with their heart and mind. Use your heart and mind to let the person know you care and truly appreciate that they came to you.
When you listen empathetically like this, it validates their thoughts and feelings. Listen without judgement. Try to bring up details that are conveyed to you at a later date or time and create an opportunity to show you heard what was said and that you are appreciative.
Here's a full article on how to be a better listener if you want to take this one step further.
5. Shine a light on someone
Boast to other people (in a kind and gentle manner) about what someone did that made you appreciative. Tell other people that so - and - so did such - and - such and how it made you feel.
Letting those around you know what kind of behavior is appreciated not only makes the person you are bragging about feel good, it lets others know how you would like them to act around you. It also gives others a reason to behave in this manner. Wouldn’t you love for someone to tell others just how wonderful you are?
6. Random acts of kindness are always valued
You don’t have to make any sort of large, extravagant gesture to show someone how appreciative you are of them. Even the smallest, most random act of kindness can portray appreciation. “The significance of the gift,” explains Parade, “can depend more on the meaning it has to the other person.”
For example, recently my niece came and stayed with me while I was really sick to help me out with a few things. She was helping out of the kindness of her heart, and I wanted to show her that I really appreciated her staying with me. I was too sick to make a big gesture. I noticed her eyeing a set of nail strips I had. So before she left, I did her nails for her. It was something small that meant a lot to her.
7. Act on your appreciation
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘actions speak louder than words.’ Maybe you don’t feel comfortable coming right out and saying how much you appreciate someone or something. Instead, you can show them your appreciation.
I showed my niece how much I appreciated her help by doing her nails. (I did also tell her how much I love her and how much her helping out meant to me.) Maybe you could buy someone flowers or something beautiful to look at. In acceptable situations, you can give someone a hug or handshake to convey your appreciation.
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It may take some serious soul searching for you to find the perfect way to show someone just how much you appreciate them. Or maybe it is just some simple, random courtesy that comes naturally. We are all individuals. Find the best way for you to show your appreciation to others. Start to make the world a better place.
What's your favorite way to show appreciation to others? Do you want to share a tip that has helped you lately? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!