“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it,” wrote William Arthur Ward, and those words are incredibly true when it comes to expressing love.
When it comes to our loved ones, we all feel moments of gratitude but, with our busy lives and the ever-growing list of distractions in our technology-driven age, actually expressing that gratitude sometimes gets lost.
We can bring gratitude to the forefront of our lives by shifting how we think about it. Rather than thinking of gratitude as an obligation – a thank you note we must write, a thankful text we need to send – we should think of expressions of gratitude as acts of love. Because, really, what is gratitude if not love?
Thankfulness, in its many forms, is essentially a universal expression of love, a deep and meaningful appreciation for someone or something in your life. When you are grateful – whether it’s for the presence of a much-loved partner or for the kind generosity of a parent – you are filled, even if it’s just for a moment, with love.
This is why feeling gratitude is so essential; it not only brings love into our individual relationships but also fills the world with more love.
Feeling gratitude is wonderful, but expressing it is even more vital. Neglecting to express gratitude is, in a way, overlooking an opportunity for love. The forgotten “thank you”, it happens to all of us from time to time, but we shouldn’t be content with missed opportunities to express appreciation. We should strive, as much as we possibly can, to express gratitude, to use it as a way to put more love into the world. The more gratitude we share, the more love we share.
Here are some of the best ways to show your love with gratitude:
SAY IT (AND MEAN IT)
This might sound obvious, but how often do you find yourself say a quick “Thanks!” without actually feeling the words? How often do your tone of voice and body language and eye contact really match how grateful you feel? The simple act of saying the words isn’t enough.
In order to truly express the underlying love in your gratefulness, it’s important to be enthusiastic and engaged when you say, “Thank you!” Convey how thankful you are by looking someone in the eyes, smiling, doing whatever comes naturally to you to express that you’re truly filled with love and appreciation for that person.
GO OUT OF YOUR WAY
Another excellent way to express your love through gratitude is by going out of your way for someone you care about (or even a complete stranger). We’re all leading busy lives, but think about how much love you can put out into the world if you simply pause, look around, and see if there’s someone you might be able to help out?
Consider those people in your life that you love and care about. Is there a small, loving act you can do for them to show your appreciation? Whether it’s a phone call to your mom to ask, “How’s your day going?” or offer to help your partner with a project, there are so many little ways you can express gratitude for those around you. “Thank you” doesn’t always have to be expressed verbally; sometimes going out of your way and doing something kind can just as effectively convey your appreciation.
SEND UNEXPECTED THANK YOU’S
When it comes to email inboxes and mailboxes, most of us have grown accustomed to seeing requests and bills and new items to add to our to-do lists. Rarely do we come across something sent to us purely as a reminder that someone is thankful for our work or presence but how amazing does it feel when you do? Make others lives a little better and spread more love by making it a habit to send unexpected emails, notes, and text messages to those you love. It only takes a few minutes out of your day to tell someone how thankful you are to have him or in your life, and it can have a hugely positive impact. Don’t wait until you have a good reason to express your gratitude. Do it as often as you can, and in unexpected ways, and you’ll invite even more love into your relationships.
TREAT OTHERS HOW THEY WANT TO BE TREATED
You’ve probably heard the saying, “treat others how you want to be treated,” but an even better saying is, “treat others how they want to be treated.” Doing this requires more effort – you actually have to figure out what others like and need – but it’s one of the absolute best ways to use appreciation to express love.
By paying attention to what others value and want, you’re showing others that they mean enough to you to be worthy of your attention and presence. One of the most important ways to show your love is to be appreciative of others’ needs and to take your observations and apply them, even when it might not come easily to you. Treating others how they would like to be treated is one of the best ways to express your love and your appreciation.
* * *
No matter how you choose to express your gratitude, the important thing is not to keep quiet about how thankful you are, particularly with those you love. Whether through words or actions, make sure others know how appreciative you feel. Gratitude is love, and the more you express it, the more loving your relationships will become.
P.S. To express my own gratitude for you and The Girl Who Knows community, I’m giving away a set of my brand new books, Gratitude and Living in the Moment. All you have to do to enter to win is leave a note below in the comments and tell us your biggest takeaway from this article, and who you’re going to shower with gratitude this week!
The winner will be chosen by The Girl Who Knows and announced here as well as on Instagram. Hurry and leave your comment, the contest ends on Wednesday, September 28th at 11:59pm EST. Good luck!