Jan 042011
Family Fun Day by Knoxville Museum of Art

This article is inspired by Sandra Lee’s 30 Days of Love and Appreciation. Since it is the start of 2011, it is best to start well. One way of doing so, is to make sure we express our appreciation and love for our loved ones. There is no need to wait for a special day or occasion to show your love. Instead, we should seize every chance we have to do so while we still can and here are some reasons why.

Reasons to Express Love and Appreciation

1. Loved Ones Are Not Mind Readers

It is hard to guess what is on a person’s mind. Since this is the case, we should not expect our loved ones to be mind readers. If we do not tell them that we appreciate them, how will they know what we feel? If we do not show our love through our care and concern, how will they be able to feel it? We may take pains to maintain our relationships with our boss, colleagues and customers. How much more so should we make the effort to do so with our family and friends?

2. The Perils of Taking Loved Ones For Granted

It is hard to win hearts and minds when we take people for granted. Over time, this will only lead to resentment and dislike. This is even more serious when it comes to our loved ones. Our family and friends do not owe us anything. They do things for us because they care. If we take this care for granted and treat them shabbily, it can only lead to problems in our relationships. How does taking someone for granted come about? It is simply because we fail to acknowledge what they do for us. We fail to affirm that their efforts mean a lot to us. We fail to show through our actions that we care.

3. The Illusion of Time

It may seem as if we have all the time in the world when it comes to showing love and appreciation. But only the wise and the old know that endless time is an illusion. No one knows when death will separate us from our family and friends forever. No one knows how many special occasions we have left to share with our loved ones. How much must we leave unsaid or undone when it comes to the people that matter? Should we not make the effort to express our love while we still have the chance to do so? Should we not treasure each moment as if it were our last? Should we not do all we can so that we live a life with little regrets?

4. Relationships Need Nurturing and Effort

Do you make an effort to maintain your relationships with your boss, colleagues, business partners and customers? Why do you do so? If you make the effort to maintain these important relationships, should you not do the same for your personal relationships? Should we not make an even greater effort when it comes to our bonds with our loved ones? Any relationship needs care, concern and effort. It needs nurturing to grow strong and healthy. If we want to forge strong bonds with people, we need to make an effort to do so. This is especially so when it comes to our loved ones. Simply put, the more they matter, the more effort we must invest.

5. Words Are Good, But Actions Are Better

Words of love and affirmation are good, but we should not forget to follow them up with actions. I am sure we have all experienced being let down by empty words before. This can shake our trust in an instant. Done repeatedly and we will not rely on that person for anything no matter what they say. Unfulfilled promises are disappointing. It reflects badly on a person. Sweet nothings are nothing without consistent action to back them up. Words are nothing if we are not willing to act on what we say. Unless we express our love and appreciation through word and deed, we will only end up alienating our family and friends.

The Kiss by Kylesteed

Benefits of Expressing Love and Appreciation

1. Strengthen Bonds

When you take the time and effort to show that you care, it does wonders for your relationships. Whether it is what you say, the little things you do or just spending quality time, it will give you joy to nurture the relationships that matter. After all, our relationships define our lives. What are we without our family and friends to share our joys and sorrows?

2. Dependable Support Group

The more we affirm and acknowledge the people that matter, the likelier they are to be there for us in our hour of need. The sincere and trustworthy family and friends that you have will surely watch your back. They will multiply your joy and happiness while reducing your sorrows and burdens. With these people by your side, you can manage life with confidence.

3. Pre-empts Problems

Every relationship has its unique problems. The more they matter, the greater the problems we might have to deal with. I do not know about you, but where possible, I like to pre-empt problems. If showing my appreciation for my loved ones can help me to avoid problems that come with not doing so, I am all for it. I cannot anticipate every problem, but as far as I can, I try to avoid the needless ones.

Birthday Surprises by Courtneyrae312

4. Creativity and Fun

Springing pleasant surprises for family and friends from time to time is fun. It forces you to think of novel ideas to do so. Most people spring surprises when there is a special occasion like a birthday. But I think we can do it anytime to express our appreciation. The time and effort you put into a surprise is likely to move the recipient and affirm the special bonds you have in this life. More importantly, everyone involved will enjoy the fun.

Taking Action

Showing your love does not mean doing some grandiose gesture like shouting it from the top of Mount Everest. The simple and little things consistently done mean more than large over the top gestures. It is also more practical as well. What is important is that we express our love according to the wishes of our loved ones. There is little point doing things for them that they dislike and do not appreciate.

Can you think of any other reasons to show love and appreciation? Are there any other benefits of doing so? Do share your thoughts and comments below. :)

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  13 Responses to “The Why of Love and Appreciation”

  1. Hi Irving,
    This is lovely. I think we could all use a reminder not to take each other for granted. Life goes by way to fast. For some more than others and when they are gone it is awful to sit with regret. I appreciate you and your wonderful talents Irving! Thanks!
    Dandy recently posted..Kiss my muffin top- A study in self-imageMy Profile

    • Hi Dandy,

      Your loved ones are blessed because you realize the need to express your love and appreciation.

      Thank you for your kind words, I always enjoy reading your blog and comments! :)

  2. Irving,

    Very good set of tips on the importance of communicating feelings. It is a great reminder to express our feelings to those we love and care about. After all they are not likely mind readers (as you say).

    An important thing is the #5 you mentioned. I know many people that express love and appreciation all the time, but it is always clear the the sentiment is hollow and I know others that almost never openly express caring, yet at the same time their actions speak volumes.

    Action is (IMO) the most important way to show real love and caring. But it is also important to tell people. Just assuming people, “know” will not often get the job done.
    Steve@Lifestyle Design recently posted..Get More Blog Traffic Blueprint Week 8My Profile

    • Hi Steve,

      I am glad you found my article useful.

      I am glad I am not the only one who feels that words must be backed by action. Without sincerity in action, words have little meaning. Words are necessary since we also need to hear words of affirmation from time to time. Action alone just won’t cut it. So the two have to be balanced.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments! :)

  3. Hi Irving,

    This is a wonderfully complete exploration of why and how to nourish our personal relationships. I especially appreciate the reminder that death is real and comes without warning. We never know when we go to bed at night if we will wake up the next morning. One of my close friends did not. Death is certain, we just don’t know when it will arrive. It could be in any moment. I try to live meaningful and make the most of life now.

    I find that as I express love and appreciation more and more, it comes back to me multiplied, further enriching my life. It’s a win-win situation!

    Thanks for the link luv. I appreciate your deep thinking and clear writing.
    Sandra Lee recently posted..Is a Lack of Forgiveness Holding You BackMy Profile

    • Hi Sandra,

      Many people avoid talking about death but death is certain and real. When death comes it will separate us from our loved ones forever. I am sorry to hear about your close friend. The loss of a close friend is never easy to bear. But at least you have realized the fragility of life and live as fully as you can. That is how all of us should strive to live.

      I agree with you. When we express our love and appreciation, it comes back to us many fold. This too has been my experience.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments! :)

  4. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Irving. Irving said: The Why of Love and Appreciation inspired by Sandra Lee's 30 Days of Love and Appreciation. http://tinyurl.com/2unyl3f [...]

  5. Hi Irving,

    This is a wonderful post — it really gets to the meat of tending to relationships in a way that will allow them to thrive. Really showing people that you care in ways that are meaningful to them goes such a long way in keeping relationships healthy. A good dose of laughter and lightheartedness helps too!

    • Hi Barrie,

      It is easy to love people in ways that we want to be loved. After all, we know ourselves best. But our ways may not be the ways of our loved ones. What is important to us may not be that important to our loved ones. That is why it is better to give love in the ways our loved ones appreciate. This, as you say, goes a long way in keeping relationships healthy.

      I love your suggestion of laughter and lightheartedness. These elements do wonders for any relationship!

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments! :)

  6. A wonderful post. You always strike such a good balance between an inspiring and motivating concept, and practical reasons and applications. You provide the what (inspiration), the why (motivation), and the how (techniques). I always end up contemplating and reflecting on your posts long after I’ve read them.

    This is especially timely for me. As I move toward retirement in May, one of the things uppermost on my mind is the loss of my work friendships. I have good friends outside of work, but my work friends are the people I see every day. These are the people I check in with about what we did over the weekend, what’s up with the kids, and so forth, often discussed over a spontaneously shared lunch in the conference room. Four of us have worked together for 20 years. We have raised our kids, gotten married, gotten divorced, buried parents, survived illness, oh yes, and worked! I’m going to miss that a lot.

    So I have been thinking about how to increase my connections and nurture my relationships in ways that will help me move through this retirement transition. You have given me some great ideas.

    And I also appreciate your recognition that death plays a part in this. Making friends with death, our own and others’, helps us treasure the precious time we have to love and be loved.

    Thank you!
    Galen Pearl recently posted..Getting Our Happiness BearingsMy Profile

    • Hi Galen,

      Thank you for your lovely feedback on my post. I am glad you enjoyed it. :)

      It will not be easy to say goodbye to friends we see everyday. Most of us spend so much time at work that our colleagues are the ones who see us most of the time. As you have shared, you weathered so much of life together with your colleagues, especially the ones whom you worked 20 years with. The good thing is you can still catch up with them outside. I am glad to have been able to help in some small way with my article.

      Death is as real as change in life and all we can do is to cope with them. Being aware of them helps us to live more fully and richly.

      Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us! :)

  7. I like your point #1. A case of misunderstanding intentions can lead to conflicts. We are often too quick to pass a judgment or conclusion, without taking the time to truly understand what the other party is hoping to do.

    It’s true that small gestures over time means more to me. Buying gifts and all that is great but making a considerate act also scores a lot of points!

    It’s great that you are starting the year with a reminder about showing love and appreciation. I agree that we need to do more of these!
    Evelyn Lim recently posted..Shift Your Current Scarcity ParadigmMy Profile

    • Hi Evelyn,

      Love and appreciation is something we can easily overlook when we get snowed under with the challenges we face in life. But it is also one of the little things if we take the time to do well, that will reap tremendous benefits for us in the long run. I have always valued harmony in relationships, so expressing my love and appreciation is something I make a point to remember to do.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

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