My grandmother was one of the most important people in my childhood and I loved her dearly. A few weeks before she died, she was hospitalized, dipping in and out of consciousness. Unfortunately, I was living overseas at the time and couldn’t get back to be with her.
It broke my heart that I couldn’t be there with her. Wanting her to know how much I appreciated all she had done for me in my life, I wrote her a letter and asked a family member to sit beside her hospital bed and read it to her.
I am eternally grateful that they did that for my grandmother, and for me. I believe that she heard those words and they served to acknowledge her impact in my life and celebrate the amazing woman she was. Now I look back and realised that expressing my love and gratitude to my grandmother was a gift to myself too - it fulfilled my need to connect with her and show her my deep love. In a small way, it was a celebration of a beautiful relationship.
As we come to the end of 2020, it’s a great time to think about and celebrate the ways that others have enriched our lives this year.
The Most Meaningful Way to Express Gratitude
When you want to express your gratitude to someone, ask yourself these three questions:
1. What did they do that contributed to your wellbeing?
2. How did it make you feel?
3. How did it meet your needs?
It doesn’t matter what order you say them in. The most important thing is to express each one as specifically and clearly as you can.
Here are some examples:
"This year I appreciated it so much when you cooked supper and bathed the children and put them to bed on the nights I had to work late. (OBSERVATION) I felt so relieved and at peace (FEELINGS) because I was able to concentrate on my work knowing that they were being taken care of." (NEEDS)
"I appreciate it so much that you are always available to talk things through with me. You always stop what you are doing and look me in the eye when I talk to you. (OBSERVATION) It makes me feel like I really matter, that my thoughts and concerns are important. (FEELINGS) When you do that I know that I am safe and accepted." (NEEDS)
I believe that the greatest power of NVC is the opportunity to increase connection and emotional well-being. Yes, the language of NVC helps us to resolve conflict and communicate honestly but it also enables us to celebrate the goodness in life!
I encourage you to take some time before the year ends and think about who you would like to give a gift of gratitude to. It might be someone in your everyday life, someone you knew for a short time, or even someone who has passed away. Tell them in person or write it in a card. I can’t think of a better way to connect meaningfully with others and celebrate life!