How often do you thank your partner for a kind thing they do for you? How often does your child thank you for something you do for them? Even if the answer to those questions is “not often,” I’d be willing to bet that the generous gestures are appreciated.
We’re also usually grateful for the mere existence of some people in our lives. They enrich our lives by being our partner, our parent, our best friend, or our co-worker. We might not remember to tell them but we still feel the gratitude, even if it is on a subconscious level.
Gratitude can do wonderful things when it becomes your way of life. It cultivates appreciation for all that you have and makes it easier to tolerate life’s frustrations, stresses, and setbacks. It can also boost your mood. Gratitude doesn’t just boost your mood; it can also transform all your relationships if you allow it to. Here are just a few ways that gratitude can improve your friendships, connections, and relationships.
Gratitude Heals Relationships
It’s easy to focus on what your spouse is doing wrong or how you feel your friend is failing you. But often, these attitudes toward others create a negative loop. For example, Sarah thought her husband was lazy. The more she told him this, the less he tried to please her. This allowed a negative pattern to continue for months.
When she changed the focus of her attention and, instead of looking for all that he didn’t do, looked for what he did do, that changed. She began to see the things he did that she didn’t even ask him to do and realized that she should be grateful that he thought of those small things, such as checking the oil in her car or tucking the blanket more tightly around her when he came to bed on cold nights.
Instead of focusing on what others should or shouldn’t be doing, think on what you love about them. You might say, “Yes, my father calls me frequently to offer advice on my job search. It’s comforting to know he cares so much.”
Gratitude Deepens Relationships
Sometimes, gratitude can strengthen a relationship that’s just beginning. For example, Amelia had always been interested in becoming a professional photographer. At a parents’ night meeting, she discovered one of her daughter’s classmates had a mother who was a professional photographer. The other woman happily chatted with Amelia and answered all of her questions.
Amelia sent a thank-you note the next day. The other mother loved the note and offered to go on a coffee date so she could share more tips with Amelia. The woman went on to become Amelia’s business mentor and guided her through the process of finding clients.
Whether it’s to thank a mentor for being your guide or simply thanking a new friend for spending time with you or offering some helpful advice, gratitude can make a new relationship stronger and deeper quickly.
Gratitude Strengthens Relationships
You may not realize it but when you’re grateful, it shows up in your relationships. For example, if you’re grateful for your mom, you’re likely to demonstrate this without even realizing it. You take the time to listen to her when she calls, you offer to help her with difficult tasks, or you do an enjoyable activity together.
When you express gratitude in your relationships, the other person feels valued and heard. As a result, they want to bless you, too. Often, this creates a continuous cycle of generosity that contributes to positive feelings on both sides.
Let your loved ones know you appreciate them. You can do this by thanking them for something they’ve done or who they are. For example, you might thank a friend for bringing you cookies after surgery. But you could also thank her for being so thoughtful when you were in the middle of a difficult time. Whether it’s for the specific act of bringing you cookies or the thoughtfulness behind the act, your gratitude remains the same and shows that you appreciate her.
Relationships are precious and you should value them. Spend time each day, letting a loved one know you care.