“I appreciate you”…
We all have people in our lives whom we appreciate. It could be one of your best friends with whom you always have fun, your partner, a sibling, parent, child, or any loved one.
It might be that coworker who always goes the extra mile to help you out, or it could be the neighbor who always offers to take care of your garden when they’re looking after their own.
It might even be the barista that has taken the time to get to know not only your order but other things about your life too and always asks how your day is going.
We appreciate many people in our lives, but we often neglect to let those people know just how much we appreciate them. Sometimes it feels so obvious that we appreciate them that we don’t feel the need to express it aloud.
Other times we take other’s kindness, generosity, and love for granted and don’t even realize how important and special they are to us.
If you have someone you deeply appreciate in your life, but you’re not sure how to let them know how you feel, then continue reading. In this article, we’ll explore what it means to appreciate someone. We’ll take a look at why it’s so important to show appreciation to the people in our lives, and finally, we’ll explore some practical ways to show and tell someone that you appreciate them.
What does it mean to appreciate someone?
When we think or say, ‘I appreciate you,’ what does that really mean? How does it differ from saying ‘I love you,’ ‘I like you,’ or ‘thank you so much’? To get a better idea of what ‘I appreciate you’ means, let’s take a look at some official definitions of the term ‘appreciation.’
Definitions of appreciation
Cambridge American English Dictionary defines appreciation as:
‘The act of recognizing someone’s worth as a person or showing that you are grateful for something that person has done.’
In the Merriam Webster dictionary, the noun ‘appreciation’ is defined as:
‘A feeling or expression of admiration, approval, or gratitude.’
Merriam Webster defines the verb ‘to appreciate’ as:
‘to grasp the nature, worth, quality, or significance of..’
Recognition of worth, importance, quality, and significance, and feelings of admiration, approval, and gratitude all fall under the definitions of appreciation. When we appreciate someone, we recognize how important they are in our lives. We recognize that we might lack something we hold very dear without them and that they have made the world a little better by simply being themselves.
When a person feels driven or inspired to tell someone ‘I appreciate you,’ it’s usually because that other person has done something admirable, beneficial to others, or makes the first person feel good about themselves or life in general.
The first person is grateful and realizes that things might not be the same without the other person. They realize that they’ve benefited from the other person’s kindness and feel the need to thank them.
Appreciation is similar to being thankful. However, appreciation runs a little deeper than thankfulness. Thankfulness generally refers to a specific situation, while appreciation is about being grateful for the person in general.
The phrase ‘I appreciate you’ is also used as an expression of admiration. One could admire another’s level-headedness, leadership skills, or listening skills. One could be grateful for another’s contribution to a solution or in a group project.
Saying ‘I appreciate you’ is also a way to let someone know that you recognize what they’ve done for you and that you want to thank them. You might say it even if they haven’t done something specific, but you’re simply grateful for their being around.
Why is it important to express appreciation?
Do you remember the last time you told a friend that you appreciate them? Or the last time someone told you they appreciate you? How did it feel? Being told that we’re appreciated is an undeniably amazing feeling, and telling others the same also feels good.
When you tell someone you appreciate them, you can usually see them soften, even if they’re the most stoic person you know. You might see a glint in their eye or a slight upward curl in their lip and know that you’ve made their day, possibly even their week, that little bit better through the simple power of appreciation.
Many of us are far too familiar with the feeling of being unappreciated. We work hard and do our best to be kind and compassionate to others, but our intentions and efforts don’t usually get the recognition they deserve. Of course, when we’re truly being kind and compassionate, we’re not doing it for recognition.
Instead, it is done out of the goodness and warmth of our hearts. Doing things simply for recognition is inauthentic and is something that most people can see through.
Still, it’s nice to be appreciated. When you take the time to notice what the people in your life are doing and recognize their inherent goodness, make sure to let them know you appreciate them. The feeling of being appreciated is one of the powerful feelings we can experience and lets us know that we are not alone.
Feeling appreciated makes a more loving and grateful partner, a more motivated and content employee, and a fulfilled parent. So, next time you feel a sense of appreciation for someone in your life, no matter who it is, make sure to let them know.
How to express appreciation
You can express appreciation in words, but you can also express it through action and behavior. Every day, you can act in a way that includes your appreciation of others simply by being mindful of your emotions. ‘Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it,’ writes American author William Arthur Ward.
“Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.” – Ralph Marston.
Say it out loud
The most straightforward way to let someone know you appreciate them is to say it out loud. Next time you recognize someone’s worth, kindness, importance, or feel awash with admiration or gratitude, offer them some of the following words:
‘I appreciate you.’
‘Thank you so much for what you’ve done.’
‘You mean a lot to me.’
‘You’re really thoughtful.’
‘I’m grateful that you’re here.’
Consider the following example: A son calls his mother to tell her that he’s bringing his new girlfriend home for a week over the holidays and that she’ll be staying for Christmas dinner. They arrive home a few days before Christmas.
The mother and her son’s girlfriend get to know each other, during which time the mother discovers that the girlfriend is vegetarian. On Christmas Day, the mother prepares a delicious vegetarian meal for the girlfriend while also having prepared the Turkey for the rest of the family. In this context, the son could simply say ‘thank you’ or ‘I appreciate you’ to his mother, or he could elaborate and explain the reason behind his appreciation:
‘Thanks, Mom. I recognize that you took extra time and effort to prepare this meal and that you wanted to make my girlfriend feel welcome in the home. That means a lot to both of us, and I really appreciate it.’
Send a message
“Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it all into words is all that is necessary.” – Margaret Cousins.
If you live far away from someone who means a lot to you and whose friendship has made your life a little more enjoyable, don’t hesitate to give them a call, leave a voice message, or drop them a text every now and again to let them know that you are thinking of them and how much you appreciate them.
Show appreciation through action
Saying ‘thank you’ or ‘I appreciate you in words or through a text message is not the only way to express your appreciation and gratitude for someone. You can also express how you feel through your actions.
Send a gift
For example, if someone went out of their way to help, you could send a bouquet of flowers to their house. You could write a thank you note and send it along with the flowers, or leave the note on their desk if they’re a coworker.
Listen with compassion
You can also express your appreciation indirectly. Instead of expressing thanks through a gift, such as flowers, chocolates, or a birthday surprise, you can show someone how much they mean to you through how you behave towards them.
For example, suppose a friend comes to with a worry or concern or simply wants to vent about something. In that case, you can extend your appreciation by offering them a compassionate ear and some friendly advice.
Stand up for someone
If your favorite coworker receives harsh criticism at work, you could show your appreciation by speaking up about how much good work they’re doing. It may be the case that you can see their genuine efforts, but nobody else can. Stand up for those whom you believe are doing their best to show them that you appreciate their efforts.
Be a reliable friend
A great way to show someone that you appreciate them through action is to show up for them when they need you. If you truly appreciate them being in your life and all the things they have done for you, and all the positive feelings they give you, then show how much they mean to you by being reliable and trustworthy.
Reliability and trustworthiness go a long way in letting someone know they’re appreciated and are often far more useful than simple words.
A friendly reminder
It feels great to show the people in our lives how much we appreciate them. However, we often forget to appreciate one of the most important people in our lives – ourselves. As much as you can, take a moment to step back from what you’re doing, breathe, and tell yourself how much you appreciate you.
You get out of bed every morning, you take care of yourself, you go to work to make a living for yourself, and you make the world a better place by simply being here. That’s a lot to appreciate!