We’ve talked about why gratitude matters, what happens when we don’t focus on it, and even designed your own gratitude challenge. But what about sharing your gratitude? What about helping others feel more gratitude – or simply appreciated – by sharing with them how you’re grateful for them?
Arielle was a grade school teacher living in Michigan. She was feeling discouraged about a student that she was struggling to help. She was wondering if her work was making any difference when she received a card in the mail.
It was a letter from one of her former students, John. In it, he thanked her for all of her hard work and dedication. He explained that his mother had been a single mom and he didn’t have anyone to help him at home. While others had given up and written him off, Arielle’s encouragement and kindness had kept him going.
Arielle was so touched by the letter that she cried. She started a campaign in her classroom, encouraging each student to write a letter of gratitude toward someone who had influenced them in a positive way.
If you want to bless someone, you can write a short note and let them know how much you care. Here are a few tips to help you get started…
Keep it Short
Some people believe that a thank you note has to be super long in order to be sincere. However, a short thank you letter doesn’t have to be more than two paragraphs. In fact, a brief message can be more meaningful than a long one that rambles.
If you have a reason to make it longer, that’s fine too. But don’t feel obligated to make it more than a few lines. If your gratitude shines through, it doesn’t matter how long it is.
When writing a thank you letter, try to mention what the recipient did. For example, when Delaney wrote a thank you note to the speaker of her women’s conference, she thanked the other woman for the time she took to encourage others behind the scenes.
Once you’ve shared what the person did, explain why it was so meaningful. In Delaney’s note, she touched on how the speaker’s compassionate response spoke to her heart for hurting women.
This helps the recipient see just how much you appreciate them and what they did. And if you’re not grateful for one specific act, but for their presence in your life? It’s okay to say that too. But finding an example or two of why their presence is so meaningful will make your message even more impactful.
Keep in mind that writing a letter of gratitude isn’t like writing a college term paper. You don’t have to use fancy words or impress the recipient. Instead, share from the heart and use everyday language.
Write the way you would speak if you were telling them this in conversation. Write from the heart.
Handwritten Means More
In today’s fast paced world, it’s tempting to send your thoughts via email. But a physical, handwritten letter shows the recipient that you cared enough to spend valuable time writing to them.
A handwritten note often becomes a keepsake item. This gives the receiver a chance to re-read your kind words whenever they’re in need of encouragement.
Of course, you can send an email or text occasionally. A phone call can also be nice. But when you really want your recipient to feel special, take the time to handwrite the note.
Don’t Forget The Closing
When you’re finishing a note, you may struggle with how to end it. For a casual letter that’s going to a friend or family member you know well, you may want to use an expression of love like, “sending hugs” or “love you tons”.
But for a professional letter, you’ll want a more formal closing. Try using an expression like, “thanks again” or “sincerely”. These closing’s show you care without being too personal.
Think of the ones who’ve influenced you over the years and consider writing one of them a handwritten thank you note. A few people you may want to thank include: a teacher that believed in you, a mentor that guided you during a difficult season, or spiritual leader who encouraged you.