Appreciation is defined as “the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.”

I have a tough time showing my appreciation for people when they do things for me or when they help me out. While I’m in recovery, I have everyone basically doing everything for me and I’m forever grateful for that.

But I want to talk about how showing your appreciation for people is necessary, which I know is kind of obvious, but a lot of the time people assume that their appreciation is given. I think that the way that the word is working right now, not everyone stops to actually thank people for what they do; or at least when they do its not genuine.

I think with the younger generations, its automatic for us to say “thank you” when someone helps us whether we mean it or not. But the older generations know what it means to be thankful. I’m not saying that generations like mine don’t know what it is to be genuinely thankful of something, because there are those that do, but I think it’s just become a formality more than an actual act of gratitude.

So I’ve compiled a small list of how to show your appreciation for someone:

1. Return the favor

If someone mowed your lawn for you or helped you bring in your groceries, maybe think about helping them do the same thing or anything that they may need help with. For example: There’s a single mother who lives next door to us who knows that I’ve been having health issues. She offered to trim back the bushes in front of our house so that it was easier for me to get in and out of the house. In return we (ok M did because it couldn’t) helped her move branches from her back yard and took them to the environmental waste dumb near us because M has a truck and she doesn’t. Little things like that are a great way to show appreciation without just having so say thank you.

2. Visit with them

When I was younger, my Nona would take me on so many field trips because I was the grandchild that lived closest to her. She would take me to the Discovery Museum in the SF area and to the Museum of Modern Art in SF. Those are my favorite memories with her, but as she got older, she wasn’t able to do as much and she was confined to a wheelchair it became harder for us to do anything together. But to return the favor of giving me some of the best memories of my childhood, I would visit her. She lived about 30 minutes from my house but it was on my way home from work so I would often stop and visit with her and talk with her about her day or watch a Giant’s game. I know she enjoyed spending time with me from the smile on her face. Spending time with those people that helped you feel good is a great way to show your appreciation because it shows that you are more than just thankful but that you actually care about the fact that they took time out of their day to help you.

3. Make them something

When someone spends their time helping you with something, more often than not, they do not expect anything in return. So making them something, even if its as simple as a handwritten letter, will be a pleasant surprise. Now I’m not saying go out and buy a ton of crafts supplies and spend a ton of money on this project, but just see what you already have around you. I helped my boyfriend through a tough time in his life last year, he was struggling with school, hockey, and his job. All I did was support him and give him the encouragement he needed to make it through the semester and he gave me a very sweet card and a canvas photo. It was very sweet because I know that he didn’t have the time to take out of his busy schedule but he did and I appreciated it very much. So even a simple note can make the day of the person who helped you out.

4. Say “thank you” and mean it!

Lastly, I want to cover this: saying thank you and actually meaning it. I can’t even tell you how many times I say thank you a day. I would like to think that I always mean it but I don’t think that its always genuine. Just now, while writing this for you guys, my computer was dying and due to my physical limitations (see Bed Rest) I couldn’t do it. My loving boyfriend M went to plug in the charger for me. Well unfortunately, our house is a bit on the older side and some of the outlets are loose. Normally in a home I would say contact an electrician or your landlord but we have less than a month in this house before we move on. So he went to plug it in and it was charging just fine until I sneezed and the block fell out of the wall. We tried and tried to get it to stay in there but in the end he had to do some work on the outlet that caused him to miss an important part of the show we’re watching (The Profit). After he get it all fixed and put back together, I said than you like I normally would but then I realized that I’m writing this and I need to actually mean it. So I grabbed his hand and I said, “No seriously hon, thank you so much for helping me.”I know he knows how grateful I am for how he’s helping me and supporting me but making sure that he knows I really am thankful helps.

I know this list of tips seems like obvious choices for showing your appreciation for someone but sometimes the most obvious answers are right in front of us but we don’t see them.

Disclaimer: I’m not here to lecture anyone about how they should live their lives, and if you don’t agree with me that’s fine. That’s called being yourself. Everyone has their own opinion of how things should be and I think that everyone’s voice matters.


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