We’re just a few days away from Christmas, and perhaps you’re still out there scrounging to find that last-minute perfect gift for someone.
Finding the right gift for that right person seems to come naturally for some. But for many of us, we struggle with finding the right gift. We worry… “What if they don’t like it?” “What if it’s the wrong size.” “What if they already have one?” After all, none of us wants to give a gift that will later surface at some white elephant gift exchange!
So back to the question. Is there something we can give that we can be confident will be the right gift every time? I think there is.
It’s a one-size-fits-all kind of gift. It’s a gift that is always in season. It’s a gift that is applicable in every culture. It’s a gift that everyone needs. It’s a gift that everyone wants more of. It’s a gift that can impact a person forever. And best of all…it’s a gift that doesn’t cost you anything.
What is this gift? It’s the gift of appreciation. It is the right gift every time!
The desire for appreciation starts at an early age, and it doesn’t go away just because we’ve grown up. Appreciation communicates that we matter and we’re important. Who doesn’t need to feel that? Appreciation can be like water to a thirsty soul and air to a drowning man.
Appreciation (or the lack of it) will leave it’s mark on a person. Think of a time when someone showed you how much they truly appreciated you. I bet you still remember it clearly and feel it powerfully. That’s the kind of impression showing appreciation makes. Like wise, I bet you can remember a time when someone didn’t appreciate you. It too made an impression on you you’ll never forget. Appreciation is a powerful gift, because it can actually effect the course of a person’s life.
There are many ways you and I can show appreciation, but here are three good ones…
- Telling someone “Thank You,” when they do something for you. This is a great way to start showing appreciation. “Thank you for folding my clothes.” “Thank you for working so hard for us.” “Thank you for this great meal.” “Thank you for keeping the yard looking nice.” “Thank you for watching this movie with me.” “Thank you for (fill in the blank.)” It’s a simple thing to do and we should do more of it.
- Noticing someone’s talents or gifts. “I’ve always admired how you know just what to do in this kind of situation.” “You did a great job on that.” “I’m so proud of you.” “I love the way you (fill in the blank.)” “You’re so good at fixing things!” (By the way, that last one is not one my wife can legitimately use.)
- Telling someone how important they are to you. “I could not have done this without you.” “God has used you to help me become better in this way.” “You brought (fill in the blank) into our marriage…and I needed that.” “You’re such an important part of my life and our kids’ life.”
These are small things and they may not seem like much, but the people around us are starving for this kind of appreciation. When you show someone appreciation, you give them a gift that lifts them up and encourages them.
There are a couple of things you need to know about showing appreciation:
- You can always find something for which you can show genuine appreciation. You may be thinking, “But you don’t know this particular person. If I have to be genuine, then I’ve got nothing!” You probably feel this way because your frustration with this person has caused you to stop looking for the good in them. You’re only focusing on the negative. But there is almost always something there you can appreciate. And once you find it, it will get easier to see more things to appreciate.
- If you show appreciation only to try to get something from someone, it’s not a gift. It’s manipulation…and it won’t work. Appreciation is something that needs to come from the heart. You must mean it. This means, you may have some work to do on your attitude in order to show appreciation. Start with forgiveness. Consider all the things for which you need forgiveness, and this will make forgiving them easier to swallow.
Any time is the right time to give the gift of appreciation, but the holidays give us an easy way to get started. So if you’re looking for that last minute gift, try appreciation. It’s the right gift every time!
For the next couple of weeks, try this experiment. Try making a conscious effort to show appreciation, especially to those with whom you struggle. Take note of the difference it makes, both in them and in you. Leave a comment and share the results of your experiment.
Copyright © 2014 Bret Legg