On appreciation

It doesn’t take much to be an appreciative, caring person. That’s not to say your goal is to put in the least amount of effort yet appear to be a righteous person. No, life isn’t all about appearances. I’m only reminding you that it’s straightforward to show love and appreciate another person. If someone’s walking in behind you, hold a door—small action, but effective. Smile more. It’s the little things.

You can also do things that are more special to make people feel good. Shoot someone an email to let them know you’ve been thinking of them. Send a thank-you note. Give them a handwritten letter—something unusual that takes effort means much more than an automated message or even a smile (though that’s powerful, too).

I want to see you go out of your way and do things that nobody else wants to do or will put in the effort to do. This might also be showing appreciation to people who aren’t as relevant in your life. You may have great words to say to your mother on Mother’s Day or to a significant other on their birthday, but what about the acquaintance who recently became a father? What about the young man who is about to leave for the military who you spoke to only a handful of times in the last few years?

These people aren’t an active part of your life, but a small message and word of encouragement can go a long way. You might feel weird doing it, but it would mean the world to you if they did the same. You also shouldn’t be disappointed if nobody else returns the favor or even cares, because that’s not why you do it in the first place. That only validates the fact you’re doing something others are hesitant to do, which makes your actions all the more critical.