It costs nothing to be kind to people – or does it? There are probably a few people in your life that you have complicated relationships with. And, it can be hard to navigate them. But in the end if everyone is trying to resolve the issues, sometimes it is better to be the one to, in the words of Elsa, let it go.
Deep down, although we might get annoyed with ourselves to spending time and care where it maybe wasn’t appreciated – you should have a more profound sense of enjoyment. Because if you are the one being light, bright and sharing the love, then you have nothing to feel sorry for.
May moons ago, a child would rarely, if ever, hear “I love you” from their parents. That was more likely to come from grandparents – if at all. Fast forward a few years and now “I love you” is encouraged and expected. It can feel like those three words have been diluted though. They are used too often, and not everyone means them. The difference is, usually, you can feel it when it means something. You know that it is there when it is unspoken.
Beyond those words, how can we show people that we care about them, that we appreciate them? That they are more than just ‘there’.
There are a few days each year which are designated and dedicated to the people in your life. Grandparents day, World Pets Day, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and so many more. It can be so easy to get lazy and expect that a card will be okay. But with internet card companies, who will send the cards directly to the recipient a lot of the effort is now taken out of the process. Of course, if you are creating photo cards or extra-large prints online is the easier option. Other times, handwriting a card and posting it yourself holds more weight. If you are the kind of person that always forgets when specific dates then check out Mother’s Day FAQ and put the date in your diary.
When we the last time you baked a cake for someone? Or perhaps a batch of cookies? The time and effort that goes into baking a cake for someone else is no small thing. There is something about homemade bakes that are hearty, warming and ultimately display a lot of thoughtfulness.
If you aren’t great at baking, then you can try no-bake confections. Most of which require nothing more than some light mixing and a microwave.
Homemade chocolate might sound really difficult to do, but you can whip up a batch of vegan chocolate in no time at all. In fact, you can create whole trays of fudge too. If you find yourself strapped come Christmas time, festive fudge is the ideal option. You can make it in batches and then separate it out for everyone.
If you live far away from your intended recipient – although it might take longer to arrive, you might consider writing a letter. You can add recent photographs, talk about things that have happened over the last few weeks. Ask how they are, and although there should be no pressure to reply, mention it might be nice if they can.
If you live with someone and are trying to show them that you appreciate them a little more often, then post-it notes inside their lunch boxes or work notebooks is a fun idea. You can write a simple thank you, or “I love you” and when they find it, it will perk up their day.
There is something about handwritten notes that feels so personal, it is hard not to fall a little bit in love with sending them.
While going out to a restaurant is lovely, being able to relax in the home (or your home in this case) can be much more needed. If you aren’t great at cooking, then practice your intended meals a few times before you offer to cook dinner for more than just yourself. And, while it is the thought that counts, enjoying edible food are also part of it. If you are on a budget, and let’s face it, who isn’t, then potatoes are very versatile and cheaper cuts of meat cooked for longer in a slow cooker with herbs will lose the toughness and soak up flavours.
Sometimes people need to talk. It might not be about anything serious, general chit chat means that they feel like they are connecting to someone. After all, we have two ears and one mouth – so maybe we should use them that way every once in a while. Invite your friend(s) or family over, or out for a coffee – your treat, and just let them talk for a while.
There is a skill called active listening, which is something you have to learn and practice over time so that you aren’t just letting words wash over you – you are fully engaged. And rather than jumping to ‘problem-solving mode’ you are simply listening to them. More often than not, people want to talk because they need someone to listen – not because they need something fixed.
Social media and the internet have let us get lazy. Lazy to the point that sending a text is now seen as the best form of communication. Scrolling through our timelines, gleaning information about how people are doing and what they are up to – without stopping to ask “how are you?”. Most of the time, people will share their triumphs and the good stuff.
You’ll never know if there is more to a story or to what is going on with them, unless you are actively asking. So where possible arrange to meet with someone for the coffee that you always say you’re going to get, call your grandparents, or your aunty.
A lot of showing appreciation is about being there, putting some effort in, and for the 20 minutes it takes to bake cookies – is there really an excuse to not bother?