A person will always do more than what’s expected if they’re appreciated. In our busy world today, we sometimes overlook the importance of being nice just for the sake of being nice! And this doesn’t just go for employees or co-workers. Think about teachers or the cashier at your grocery store, your hairdresser, your parents or grandparents, your dog groomer, even your kids! The list is endless.

I think it’s super important to compliment people: magnify their strengths, not weaknesses! And, encourage, encourage, encourage! Lots of times it doesn’t take much at all to brighten someone’s day, just a teeny tiny bit of effort. I like words of affirmation. Whether it’s in an email, a handwritten note, or in person, just saying: “Hey, thanks for all of your hard work. It is noticed.” It feels good to say it, but I know it feels better to hear it. This can go for your boss, your employees, your friends, your husband or significant other…anyone that you notice is always working hard.

Acts of kindness, even tiny ones, are HUGE! Buy someone their favorite drink or snack—and the first step to that is finding out what someone’s favorite little things are! Does your neighbor like cupcakes? Pick one up from the store and deliver it as a surprise! Bring a teacher her favorite drink or snack at the end of a long school day. Buy your loved one his or her favorite treat, for no reason at all. Small rewards to show appreciation go such a long way!

I’ve read lots of stories about the “pay it forward” movement…I don’t know if it’s a movement…but, whatever. When a person does something like pick up a check for a family at a restaurant, or buys the person’s drink in line behind them. In turn, the people receiving those gifts will, hopefully, return the favor at some point. Such a cool concept!

I read a bittersweet little something the other day. A man had decided, after 30 years, to write a short note of thanks to one of his teachers. The man had grown up in a very rural and poor town in West Virginia. This teacher had opened the boy’s eyes to so many things, and he regretted never thanking her. So, he sat down and penned a letter. A few weeks later, he received a handwritten note in return from the teacher, who was now in her 80s living a lonely existence, but nevertheless grateful for the man’s show of gratitude. The teacher wrote in the note that, in her 50 years of teaching, his was the only note of appreciation she had ever received—she went on to express how much his letter warmed her heart. Wow. Something so simple, yet so profound—and we’re all capable of something like this!

These little things, like kind words and small gifts, they’re uplifting. They renew optimism and they warm hearts. Gratitude is such a noble attribute, and one that’s often lost in today’s world of texts and emails and impersonal communications. I think when I show thankfulness to others, it makes me realize all the blessings in my life. And that, in turn, makes me more grateful.


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