Are “thank you” the hardest words? On showing gratitude

Our Darling Lovely Maddy is back with a brand new article. Maddy is a pretty clever chick, but we know that by now. So sit back and have a ponder on her latest subject – showing gratitude! Over to Maddy. 

So, after writing How to Survive Your Thirties a couple of weeks ago, I thought about all the gratitude that came pouring forth in my direction from friends and people I didn’t even know, and it caused me to reflect.

When I was a child I was taught to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and write thank you letters to all my relatives for my birthday and Christmas presents. I followed this rule to the max, but somewhere along the way I stopped meaning it. I just said it as a reflex.

See, this week I’ve been reading a book written by an anthropologist where she examines the rules of being English. I recognised that there are a hell of a lot of unwritten rules (ask my Irish husband and his total bafflement) where one of them is not to demonstrate extremes, everything in moderation, which includes not showing gratitude and appreciation. In recent years I have come to break away from this assigned label and it feels great!

So, here I am to remind you, Darling Lovely readers of the importance of showing gratitude and appreciation.

knots and kisses thank you card - Darling Lovely Life blog

A beautiful “thank you” card from Knots & Kisses

How to show gratitude for your friends

I have a really wide spectrum of people whom I call friends. It wasn’t always this way. I tried to find people who ticked all the boxes of what I considered to be ‘cool’. It was complicated and hard work! Once I started to relax a little, I enjoyed myself a lot more, and came to learn about myself, and came to appreciate the differences in others. Instead of letting jealousy of someone’s good looks or incredible talent stand in the way of a good friendship, I let it be and started talking to them anyway. I highly recommend not letting the feeling of intimidation stop you from making friends.

Task for you – be spontaneous! Why wait until a birthday or special occasion to buy a friend a gift to show how much your friendship means to you? I did this recently and it was awesome. Spontaneity is quite new on me, but I like the way it fits.

How to show gratitude for your family

Take the time to reflect and see what your family have brought to your life. I have shared before that I really like writing gratitude notes. Why not take the time to write down all the things you’re grateful for about a parent or sibling? Show them how much they mean to you, without wanting anything in return. From personal experience, I have done this with family members both living and passed away, and to share with them how they contribute to my life has been quite life changing for me.

How to show gratitude for your partner

If you’re in a relationship, when was the last time you said ‘thank you’ to your partner? I hope I never forget to tell my husband how I appreciate what he does for us, whether it’s saying it to his face, by paying for dinner or by buying him flowers – YES I buy him flowers, and he loves it!

How to show gratitude for yourself

No matter what lifestyle choices you have made, where you live, what you do for a job, you are there, leading that life. Give yourself a break from all the incessant chatter in your head. Take a moment. Check in with yourself and be grateful for what you have. Look at what you have done and what you plan on doing, and look at how incredible you are.You have so many talents!

Thank yourself for getting to the place where you are, and thank yourself for being the person you are. Without you, your life wouldn’t be possible! Sounds cheesy but I don’t care! It’s bloody true!

As a side note, please stop with the self deprecating humour, everyone putting themselves down all the time is so sad. If you say something that shows off a talent you have, or something you want to contribute, then after you say that, STOP TALKING. No need to follow it up with a mumbling or sarcastic comment. It’s boring and gets you nowhere.

And everyone else…

Why not take the time to thank people when they’ve done something, and really mean it. Not as a reflex response, not as ‘because it’s the done thing’ but because you really appreciate the time and energy they have taken to do something and not necessarily just for you, but perhaps for many.

Why not ‘like’ more posts and photos on social media than ever before? Why not take the time to write to friends, writers, musicians, bloggers to say thank you for a particular piece that may have resonated with you?

I’m not saying go and contrive some appreciation or positive attitude, but neither do you have to focus on all the reasons why you shouldn’t take the time out to be appreciative.

So, what do you think? Did this article inspire you to reflect on your life and be thankful? I’d love to know. Why not write what you’re grateful for in the comments?

5 Comments on Are “thank you” the hardest words? On showing gratitude

  1. mia
    February 17, 2014 at 8:54 pm (5 years ago)

    What a beautiful piece to read, I feel I needed to read this to remember what thank you really means, how gratitude feels inside emotionally and externally, we Bury these feelings so deep we have to search for them again? So maddy thank you for writing a great piece of truth, I am going to look ahead and enjoy being thankful, a big thank you mx

    • Maddy
      February 23, 2014 at 2:17 pm (5 years ago)

      Dear Mia, thank you so much for your kind words! xxx

  2. Jeremy Hammel
    February 18, 2014 at 4:15 am (5 years ago)

    I just read your post on “How to Survive Your 30s” for the first time (I didn’t catch it a couple of weeks ago). Really helped me toss all the noise in my head aside and feel good. Thanks for that gift :)

    • Maddy
      February 23, 2014 at 2:19 pm (5 years ago)

      Dear Jeremy, thank you for the compliment! Ah, the noise! It will never cease, but we just don’t have to take so much notice of it any more! That’s our choice to do so! Be gentle on yourself :o)

      Love Maddy x

  3. Jess
    February 23, 2014 at 4:17 pm (5 years ago)

    Dear Maddie,
    Thank you for such a heart opening piece of writing. It is so amazing to read such empowering words in a magazine and I feel completely inspired to write a letter of gratitude to myself and to my mum. It is my mums 60th birthday this year and I know that a letter from me appreciating everything she has contributed to me and to my family will be the most amazing gift.
    I love how you share so many practical ways in which I can be of benefit to myself and to those around me. It feels like we are building a new and more harmonious world together!
    With so much love and gratitude,


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