Becky S. Corbett, MSW, ACSW & Emily Tevault, MBA
Too often, we are so busy that we forget to take time to thank people in our lives. Showing your appreciation to others requires intentionality; vulnerability; and scheduling time on your calendar to call someone, write a note, or publicly thank the person in a meeting. Below are the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of expressing gratitude.
How do you determine who to show your appreciation? Expressing gratitude extends to every part of your personal and professional life. Make a list of people who support you: friends, family members, teachers, neighbors, business associates. When was the last time you thanked them?
Oxford Dictionary defines gratitude as the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. The last part of the definition is a reminder that expressing gratitude is a way to give back a kindness that has been provided to you. Ask yourself: “How will I give a gift to others by showing genuine appreciation?”
There are many venues for thanking someone. Consider using a variety of methods to show your appreciation. Think about how that particular individual will best receive your gratitude. Write a handwritten note and send by mail or an email, make a phone call, type a text, or publicly thank over social media. If you are able to do in-person, will your words of appreciation best be received one-on-one, in a public meeting, or at a family event?
How many times have you thanked someone this week? Increase your expression of gratitude—it needs to occur more frequently than the traditional “thank you note” for a gift or once a year during an employee annual review. Showing appreciation is for daily interactions as well as life cycle events.
Expressing gratitude takes you out of yourself so you can give to others. It demonstrates to people that you care and appreciate them. Do not assume people know that you are grateful. Ask yourself, “If I do not tell and show them, how do people know that I appreciate them?” When you are having a tough day, count your blessings. Think about the individuals in your life who have helped you along the way; step outside yourself and express your gratitude.
The key word to remember when you are thanking someone is genuine. The person receiving your appreciation needs to know it is sincere. Think about the person and what they enjoy in order to help you determine the best way to address them; does it need to be verbal, written, and/or with a little gift. Be specific about why you are thanking them; acknowledging specific skills and actions.
Sincere and thoughtful appreciation lets people know how much they are valued. How do you express gratitude to others? Share your thoughts and experiences, join the conversation below.
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is
happiness doubled by wonder.
Gilbert K. Chesterton, English writer
Resources Count Your Blessings, Twice Today – BSCorbett Consulting Blog My Reflection Journal Template – BSCorbett Consulting Free Resource Intentional Living by John C. Maxwell