I’ve always been a thankful person; expressing gratitude has never been an issue for me. When I was a child, my stepdad once told my mom that I was grateful even if I was given an empty paper bag. My gratitude caused my stepdad to do nice things for me all the time because I was always appreciative.

Lupus is not an easy disease to battle. But when you find people who can help you grab that kid, wash her face and lull her to sleep, you surely must simply say “thank you!”

Expressing gratitude can be difficult for some people. Often, gratitude is mixed with other feelings like jealousy, envy, embarrassment, or insecurity. Why? Because it can be humbling to admit that we need help from others, and expressing your thanks means you didn’t do it alone.

It is important to realize that expressing gratitude does not mean you are weaker or inferior in any way. Gratitude simply expresses your appreciation, and shows the respect you have for others.

By focusing on an attitude of gratitude, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to express how you feel. Plus, people will be far more willing to help someone who respects and appreciates them.

Five Ways to Express Gratitude

  1. Keep it simple. Instead of thinking about how best to express your thanks, just say it. Tell the person “Thank you” or “I appreciate it” and let that be the end of it. Gratitude is something that can be easily expressed just as long as it’s genuine. Expressing gratitude is as important as anything else in your relationships because it builds trust and respect. So just say “thank you.” There doesn’t have to be pomp and circumstance to the ceremony.
  2. Write a letter. Sometimes the best thing we can do is use the power of the written word to express our thanks. Get a thank-you card or a piece of stationery and write a letter. It’s one of the most personal ways of expressing gratitude these days, especially since few people take the time to write by hand. Again, you can keep it simple by letting the person know that you appreciate them. You can hand-deliver the letter or drop it in the mail so it can be a nice surprise between the stack of junk mail and bills.
  3. Give a gift. When someone does something nice for you, a nice way to express your appreciation is to give a small “thank you” present. This doesn’t have to be anything costly or extravagant, just something that shows that you appreciate what they have done for you. For instance, you might give a coffee-lover a gift certificate to their favorite coffee shop, or buy a chocolate-lover a gourmet piece of chocolate. It’s a simple gesture that can go a long way but make sure it is personal, something just for them, and addresses something they truly like.
  4. Spend a little time with them. If someone has done something nice for you, a simple way to show your appreciation is by giving your time. For instance, if someone has helped you during a time of need, tell them that you want to take them to lunch, dinner, or dessert for being such an instrumental person in your life. This lets them know you appreciate them and it also gives you a chance to chat and grow closer. Spending a little time together also helps you if you decide to buy them a gift, as it gives you more insight into what is important to them. People like feeling special. By helping you, they made you feel special, and while it may not have been so you could reciprocate, this helps you become a better friend.
  5. Tell others. In the presence of the person or people you wish to thank, share your gratitude with others. Public forms of gratitude are important because it shows just how much you appreciate and care for others. This will also help you let go of any insecurities, jealousy, or anger because you are putting others first. Pay attention to the person you are showing gratitude to when sharing, because often sincere help comes with no expectation of recognition. Keep an eye out for ways to show your gratitude, but also don’t go overboard and cause the recipient to feel embarrassed.

For every visitor, every text message, every phone call, every snack and every encouraging thought, I am grateful.

Gratitude is an important part of all relationships, so today, let go of your fears and simply say “Thanks!” to all those around you!