Sometimes someone does something that causes our souls to rush upward so fast that words feel light-years away.
How do we convey the awesome gratitude inside us in ways that will light up another’s soul?
My number one, awesome, extraordinary, gratitude go-to of all time! Hugs.
A wordless hug is a wonder.
A hug with a smile sends bliss.
A full-bodied hug projects all that you are straight to another’s heart.
Hugs tell people “I see you and receive your love.” Isn’t that a great thank you!
No, not Hallmark. Your own. As in make it. Or if you must purchase a card, at least make it one with a blank interior for writing your own message (not just your signature). I prefer you commit to a handmade card. Trust my preference on this.
A handmade thanks (be it a card or perhaps a cake; you get the idea) is a thing of beauty.
Somewhere in a letter will be the words “Thank you,” but before and after those words will be a swirl of excellence to excite the reader into paroxysms of joy.
Why such joy? Because they’re your words! People love words written to them because it means someone (you) took the time to think about them, and the thought, my dears, will always count so much!
Saying thank you with a letter allows you not only to thank someone for what they might have done for you, but also for who they are.
“Thank you for you” is an awesome, sacred statement between souls.
4. Reciprocal Motion
Sometimes, the best way to say thanks is the act of giving right back around.
If your nephew helped you clear stubborn brush from your yard, imagine how thrilled he’ll be at you offering laundry accommodations for a month!
Or let’s say moving day, which comes for all friendships eventually. If someone helps you move, you turn right back around when the time comes to help them too – and you do it happily!
Your friend may not admit this to you afterward, but there’s a good chance they shed a tear of joy for your enthusiasm, as moving days tend to be greeted with the precise welcome of repeated root canals.
This form of “paying it forward” lights up so many paths. Saying “Thanks for what you did” by doing the same or similar for someone else – the original person or not – shows high appreciation for others’ selflessness.
5. Host A Meal
A great way to thank one person or a hundred people is to feed them a home-cooked meal.
Again, the personal touch is crucial. If your cooking skills aren’t up to much, dazzle a catered meal with your own meaningful place settings.
Sharing time and sustenance is a precious act, especially when done as an act of gratitude.
If a meal is out of your reach, fill a small bag with treats they like and leave it where they’re sure to find it. Or bake their favorite pie. There are so many ways to say thank you via the stomach, they would literally fill a cookbook.
6. Date Night
Not dating you (unless that’s how things unfold), but offer thanks by sending someone on a date night. Maybe it’s a movie with one of their friends, your treat, including you watching their kids/cat/elderly parents, etc.
This is basically thanking someone with the gift of time and the freedom, for a few hours at least, of relaxed responsibilities.
Of course, this only pertains to those already romantically entangled. Nothing says thank you for you like a good, firm, passionate, surprise kiss.
Depending on the kiss and extenuating circumstances, there’s a chance this form of thanks will branch off into other somewhat physical forms of thanks. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
8. The Direct Approach
Surprise and delight someone by asking how you can thank them. Let them know you’re being totally sincere with this, and while the sky might not be an attainable limit, you’re willing at least to go to the rooftops for them.
Very often, people do things for/with us with zero expectation of thanks beyond the common “thanks.” Looking someone squarely in the eyes and saying “You are special, you did the thing, I love you, I want to celebrate you” is so life-affirming that there might be ugly-crying during the exchange.
This is fine.
9. Make ‘Em Laugh
Is it the best medicine? Yes. Is it a great way to thank someone for being awesome? You bet.
Unlike date night, this has to involve you; laughter is shared, participatory, and very bonding.
Find a comedy club. Rent their favorite funny movie. See a play you both hope will be funny. There’s so much joy in laughter, it becomes an automatic “Thank you!” for almost any situation.
10. Sit With Someone
Opposite to making them laugh, sometimes the best way to say thanks beyond saying thanks is to be with someone.
Often after a funeral or other traumatic experience, we want to thank those who comforted us, yet there’s always a twinge of how to do so without making them feel uncomfortable or that they’re receiving a standard, low-level “thanks.”
Sit with them. Be with them. Let them know by your presence that you not only desire but need their presence; that they have been and continue to be strength for you.
Of course, sitting with someone need not entail bereavement. If you and your best friend completed a long walk through the woods (with you complaining about the heat all the way), rather than immediately head for the showers afterward, give her a glass of something cold, and sit with her as you sip your own glass.
As you both catch your breath, a wordless exchange of true gratitude is taking place, because you know you truly needed the exercise, truly needed to get out of your own headspace, and truly treasure your friend for not pushing you down a hill.
11. Get Crafty
By now, you’re on top of the theme of personal meaning. You’ve cooked, you’ve laughed, you might have kissed, and you even made your own heartfelt card.
Here’s where you kick the personal notion up a notch. Despite what we see of misshapen sweaters from Grandma or the kiddy coffee mugs from hell, people actually love receiving handcrafted gifts, especially as a thank you.
Here, your skill level is definitely a deciding factor on whether or not you tackle the job yourself. If you’re handy and crafty as a matter of course, say thank you with a small side table, a hand-thrown apple dish, or, say, a knitted babooshka scarf.
As this is hand-crafted, it will come some time after whatever initialized the reason for thanks, which adds to the depth of gratitude the other will receive being surprised with such a gift.
Or even not surprised. Anticipation is a wonderful thing. Telling them that you want to make something for them, then telling them what it is, then taking your time to make it… gods, the smiles upon getting to say “Here you go!” are enough to light a thousand homes for a thousand years!
12. Be Sincere
See them. See what they’ve done, whether it involves deep sacrifice on their part or something so neighborly as picking your kids up from school with their kids when you’re stuck in the traffic jam from hell.
No matter what your method, if the delivery conveys more of “I appreciate you” than “I appreciate what you did” (note the subtle difference), your gratitude has already pushed beyond the mere words level, which is wonderful.
They will absolutely feel it, and trust me, people will thank you for that.