Ten elementary ways to show appreciation

So I’ve just had my birthday and was surprised by the unexpected kindness my beloved ones bestowed upon me.

I often get a bit busy and distracted with my life as a Mum and forget the simple things that we can show our appreciation.

So, in the spirit of sharing the joy, I’ve written them down as a lesson to my daughters and as a reminder to myself of shortcuts to making my loved ones SMILE

  1. Be the first to apologise. This is hard, sometimes impossible – especially when you are tired and overworked and really really want to be RIGHT. But sometimes, letting it go is the strongest and right way to go – and can earn you some karmic points.
  2. Never be confrontational. If you have a problem or issue with someone – sit down and talk about it over coffee, or in the car. This means that you have set time aside where you can’t be distracted (obviously you need to let the driver pay attention to the road – so no intense conversational points during these times, but sitting in traffic is ok) and can just gently get your feelings heard.
  3. Cafes are my favourite spots for these chats (my sister knows all about this) – and if you are going to put someone on the spot, you should definitely be the one to buy the coffee!
  4. When someone does you a favour, buy them a little something nice to say thanks. I’m not really into the chocolates or flowers bit, but I do like bringing over morning tea, or a nice moisturiser/candle that will show your appreciation.
  5. Write a thank you note.
  6. Now I’m sure that some of the traditionalists prefer the handwritten type – and of course, I think that this a beautiful way to go. I do honestly prefer that myself. Although I do worry that this form can scare some people off a bit….so I see nothing wrong with a little email or even a note on your friend’s facebook wall just saying thanks.
  7. If someone cooks for you – always do the washing up, or at least offer. And if you cook, try and limit the amount of pots you use so that your other half doesn’t spend all night clearing up your extravagant meal.
  8. Never go to bed angry. I know this is an old one, but truly – don’t let your dreams be tainted by your bad temper. Restore the harmony and let your weary body and hyperactive thoughts gracefully slip into restful slumber.
  9. Always kiss your loved ones goodbye, and mean it. Look in their eyes as you farewell them. Make your partings count in case of harsh sorrow and meaningful so that your time apart will be infused with your sweet energies.
  10. Smile with your eyes. My girls do that, and I am working on making my photo smiles (and real smiles), more joyful.


Give foot rubs, hand massages or neck rubs to your dear ones who are stressing out. It only takes five minutes and can feel amazing for both of you. I have been enjoying giving delicate foot massages to Matilda most nights since she was a tiny baby. She now asks for them and it really calms her down before bed.

Invite people over to your house. It sounds really obvious but sometimes we somehow forget to text our dear friend or family member and show them that you genuinely want to see them. Sit down and have a proper catch up – not over instant messaging!

To finish, here is a fabulous little quote from one of the great masters; Leonardo da Vinci:

“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.”

Does anybody have any other ideas that they’d like to share?

About the author

Elissa De Heer

I have been studying on and off for years and have postgraduate degrees in English Literature (Masters) and Teaching (Masters), a Diploma in Editing, and a Certificate in English Language Teaching.

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