The holidays are finally here, and you know what that means? Eating until foods rich in tryptophan lull you to sleep. It’s also a time to reflect and be thankful for everything the year has brought.
Telling people why they mean so much to you or being grateful is great — now more than ever — but you don’t need a holiday season to show to tell someone how much they mean to you.
It’s a similar concept to Valentine’s Day: why are we delegating love to one day of the year?
Studies have shown that one of the greatest contributing factors to overall happiness is how much gratitude you show. By this logic, dedicating a season for thankfulness simply isn’t enough to make us happy — we need to be thankful and grateful for the people we love and the life we lead year-round.
Something as simple as being able to wake up everyday surrounded by loved ones is already a huge feat. When you don’t show your gratitude for something or someone, it’s easy to take them for granted.
Being Asian-American, I battle with the dualities of these identities. My American side knows to verbalize “thank you” or “that means so much to me.” This causes surprise when I don’t get the same affirmation in an Asian setting.
There’s this argument that you don’t need to tell someone that you appreciate them or the things they do because it’s an unspoken upon fact — they already know. But the truth of the matter is that they don’t.
People don’t know how you feel about them until you say it. Never assume someone knew how you felt about them … because people aren’t mind readers (unfortunately).
I practice gratefulness every day because something as simple as saying “I appreciate you” changes the mood in any setting. It says that “I see you and I recognize all that you do for me.”
We need to recognize the fragility of life to truly feel gratitude for everything and everyone in our lives. If I couldn’t live tomorrow, would I be satisfied with all that I said to the people I loved today?
If you are, then great. If you’re not and want to practice thankfulness outside of the holiday season then try an experiment in gratitude.
Simply write a letter to someone, telling them why you value them so much, then read it to them. It sounds intimidating, but should it? When you write something down, it makes everything more real.
I tried this and my letter ended up helping a friend that was going through a dark time. My friend was struggling with things that I didn’t even know about.
This points to another reason why we should show our gratitude every time and any time of the year — you never know who needs to hear why they matter on this planet or what someone is going through.
Yet, the simple act of telling them they matter, even to a single person, speaks volumes.
Showing gratitude is the ultimate sign of value. It shows that you’re unafraid to let someone know they matter. Fact is, you don’t need a holiday to grant you this courage.
Isabella Ong is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.