How To Say ‘I Love You’ With Gratitude

Over the past month, as I have been thinking about gratitude in a new way, I have given some thought to how I can really express my gratitude (my love) for those who mean a lot to me.
There are countless ways to show gratitude and many of them are unique. One grateful act might be wonderful for someone and a pain for someone else.
It is up to you to figure out how to show your thankfulness in your own life, but here are some of the things I’ve tried to do over the past month to show those I love just how grateful I am.
Saying Thank You (and meaning it).
Sounds so obvious, I know. You are probably thinking, “I know that one, Leah!” but think about it for a minute. How often do you say thank you and really, really mean it? How often does your tone and body language and the look in your eyes convey just how grateful you are? I was raised with the please-and-thank-you manners too; we all know how important it is to give thanks. But that doesn’t mean we are necessarily doing it sincerely, expressing how we feel to the level we really mean it. Over the past few weeks or so I have been trying really hard to say thank you with true emotion and conviction. I want those I am grateful to to really know that I mean it, that whatever they have done for me has made a big difference in my life. Even if it’s a small act of kindness, it never hurts to be enthusiastic when you say, “Thank you!”
Going out of your way for someone.
It is easy for us to get caught up in our busy lives and focus primarily on ourselves and what is going on around us. But how much effort does it really take to take a pause and look around you to see if you can help someone else out? These last few weeks I have tried my best to slow down and look around. There are so many people in my life that I am grateful for and it doesn’t take all that much effort to look around and see if I can help them out in a small way. Even if it’s just a phone call to my brother to say, “How’s your day going?” or holding open a lift door for a colleague with their hands full, small acts can make a big difference in people’s lives and they are great ways to show you’re grateful. And, you don’t always have to do the direct “thank you” thing. There are indirect ways, like going just a little bit out of your way for someone else, that can really show others how much you love them.
Sending little cards and gifts.
Now, as a disclaimer for this point, I’m just going to say that I was raised in a home where cards and gifts are a big deal. As I’ve grown older, I realise this is not the case for everyone. Not everyone expresses love in this way and I know that, no matter what, things are no substitute for actions. People would much rather be treated well than receive a gift as a token of love. That being said, it never hurts to pick up a little something for someone who means a lot to you. It doesn’t have to be a big or expensive, but sometimes a little surprise in the post is just what you need to show someone how much you love and are grateful for them. I’m a huge fan of sending cards and I think it’s such a great, simple way to say to someone, “Hey, you matter to me. You matter so much, in fact, that I took the time to pick out, write, address, stamp, and send this card to you.” These days, with all of the click-and-send stuff we can do, that kind of thing actually means a lot.
Treating others how they want to be treated. You know the old saying, “Treat others how you would like to be treated”? Yeah, that’s rubbish. People don’t want to be treated the way you want to be treated. They want to be treated the way they want to be treated. This, of course, requires a lot more effort on your part, making it an extra-great way to show how much you are grateful for someone else. It’s very easy to do things your way, to treat others as you think you’d like to be treated, but it takes way more effort to go out of your way and figure out what it is that makes someone else happy. You have to pay attention. You have to be present. You have to make an effort. Believe me, this is not an easy one, and, worse yet, it may not be fully recognised or appreciated at the time, but, nonetheless, I think this is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to showing someone you love him or her. It is the ultimate selflessness, the primary way to recognise that someone else matters just as much (if not more!) than you do. Over the past few weeks I have tried to be conscious of what others want and I have tried to do things the way others would want them done. This isn’t easy and I’m certainly no expert at it, but I know that it is a great way to show just how grateful you are.
Sometimes being grateful and expressing your love for someone else through your gratitude can be so easy. Other times it can get lost in the mix of life, buried somewhere under your To Do list and trampled by the millions of things you need to get done. But, as the quote I shared this morning said, feeling gratitude and not expressing it is a waste of effort. It actually means something to feel grateful and that feeling can be wasted if you don’t do what you can do share it with others.
Whether or not you realised it before, or are just coming to realise it now as I am, gratitude really is love. Sometimes it’s a great big OMG kind of love. Other times it’s a small simple love. But, no matter what, gratefulness is love. It’s essential to the very essence of love and love is essential to the very essence of gratitude.

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