Create More Appreciation in Your Family Today
Everyone wants to feel appreciated. Whether you’re working long hours to take care of the family or juggling complicated schedules to meet everyone’s needs, we all value the moments when our efforts are acknowledged and praised. This craving for appreciation is true for children too. Families who freely express gratitude are happier and more resilient.
Yet all too often, we feel taken for granted. We feel exhausted by all our efforts throughout the day and feel like no one ever thanked us. No one seemed to even notice all this hard work. No one appreciated the healthy meals that were served or trash that was taken out or even the offers to go socialize that were passed up in order to be home with the family. And we often don’t ask for this appreciation because we don’t want to appear needy or just wish others would notice without being asked.
This creates resentment and bitterness. And the less appreciated we feel, the less likely we are to extend appreciation to someone else. We just expect others to do their jobs without praise or acknowledgement because here we are, trudging through too. And thus the cycle continues.
Many families suffer from a culture of whining, resentment, and entitlement that is directly related to a lack of appreciation.
We can begin to create a culture of appreciation in our homes by changing our own behavior first:
- Make a point to express thanks whenever someone makes an effort that supports the family or household, this includes all the small efforts that we usually take for granted as each person’s expected role in the family.
- Model expressions of gratitude toward your partner in front of your children.
- Create a daily ritual where each person identifies someone or something he/she is grateful for that day.
- Send text messages or emails of gratitude to the people in your life on a regular basis, not just on holidays and birthdays. You can set reminders on your phone each day to trigger you to send a thought of appreciation.
- Write thank you cards or notes for acts of kindness rather than just for gifts.
- Verbalize your gratitude aloud for many of the unseen helpers in your life such as the bus driver, waitress, or cleaning staff who may not even be present to hear it.
- Create a gratitude jar or gratitude journal to write down all the things your family is grateful for and read it aloud once a month or once a year.
- Give to others with acts of generosity or volunteer and have discussions about why this is so meaningful.
People of every age, income level, and walk of life are more likely to put forth their best effort when feeling appreciated. This is how we build our emotional bank account to weather tough times. We need to feel appreciated every day, many times per day. This can be expressed in words, actions, or gifts. The key is to begin expressing appreciation to the people in your life today.
Written by Suzanne Smith, Ph.D. for the Linden Blog. If you are interested in receiving Linden Blog updates with original articles about parenting, families, mental health, and wellness, subscribe using the field below. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at Linden BP call 440/250-9880.