As I was listening to a radio show recently, the caller expressed appreciation for the host’s message. The host proceeded to ask why it was important to the caller to make a point of sharing this praise. The caller’s response hit home with me. She said, “When someone has made a difference in your life you need to let them know.” How true! It was a good reminder that I need to take the time to express my gratitude for others who have impacted my life.
With the fast pace of life, it is easy forget those around me and focus only on myself and my own life. I risk under-appreciating those closest to me as well as forgetting where I am making a difference. Appreciation acts as a currency in relationships. It seems that normal living depletes the account balance daily. It is important to remember to make deposits in the lives of others on a consistent basis.
I have observed three broad areas where lack of appreciation can occur regularly and cause problems:
- Work/Business – it is easy for employers and employees to take each other for granted. In my experience, it takes active engagement by the leaders of an organization to prevent employees from feeling unappreciated. Employees often minimize the challenges of operating a business and fail to show gratitude to their employer. This doesn’t even account for dealing with customers who may be unappreciative! A well-timed word of thankfulness can buoy the spirits of all involved.
- Volunteer Opportunities – without the element of a paycheck, appreciation only increases in importance. When volunteers are not acknowledged on a regular basis, it is a short step for them to start wondering if they are making a difference. Clear, regular communication and a tangible expression of appreciation are extremely valuable. For example, I serve as a volunteer at a local charitable organization. One day, one of the leaders of the organization was passing me in the hall and, suddenly, stopped me to say thank you. Cool, right? Yes! But, at the same time, he handed me a gift card. Even better!
- Parenting – the role of parents can be the ultimate in lack of appreciation. Long hours of hard work with little to no recognition of the positive impact being made. Sign me up for that job! I am not sure about you but I do not recall expressing much gratitude for the sacrifices that my parents made for me. I often think of my parents making me take typing in 8th grade. I know, at the time, I was not appreciative. (read: I complained and whined about it) However, I am definitely glad now! (Thanks Mom and Dad!) With parenting, it is critical to take a long-term view. Only now that I have children of my own can I have a better appreciation of the perseverance it takes to raise children.
My hope is these thoughts will help you pause and reflect on people and situations around you. Do they need a quick word of encouragement and appreciation? You could be the person that gets to participate in lifting their spirit!
Question: Have you expressed gratitude to those around you recently? Is there anyone you should specifically contact to acknowledge their contribution to your life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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