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Your Clear Next Step Blog

2-4-6-8, How do we appreciate...other people?

Planning Meaningful Acts of Appreciation

A very important day is coming up for the people in your life in a couple weeks...on February 14th, if you want to get specific. Yep, Valentine's Day! At it's core, Valentine's Day is about appreciating the people in our lives--the relationships represented can run the gamut from third-grade crush to your work bestie to your grandmother. All the candy hearts, flowers, and pink and red are all just another way and another day to help you tell other people "Hey, I appreciate you, and I'm really glad you're here."



We know what you're thinking. "OK, that's nice and all, but Valentine's Day is in over 2 weeks. I have plenty of time." Yep, you do! But we think you should start planning now. It's really hard to pull off meaningful acts of appreciation last-minute, no matter who it's for.


The key to meaningful appreciation is to personalize it for the individual. For example, giving flowers to someone with pollen allergies isn't meaningful, it's just plain mean. So how can you tailor your appreciation for others to show people they matter, in a way that will mean the most to them? We all get warm-fuzzies from different things, but it turns out there are 5 common "languages" of appreciation, based on Dr. Gary Chapman's Five Love Languages. So if you really want to treat someone on Valentine's Day, find out which of the following Languages of Appreciation they speak--we'll even give you some ideas to get you started.


Words of Affirmation

Thank you


Folks who "speak" this love language enjoy verbal praise and positive encouragement. If you want to light them up, pay a genuine compliment, write them a thank you note for all that they do, and tell them why they're important to you!



Plan ahead: Do some deep thinking about specific things you appreciate about this person, and write it down!



Acts of Service



It would mean a lot to this crew if you lent them a helping hand. Offer to do a favor for them (and follow through), ask if they need help with anything, or surprise them by doing a chore or task you know they're not a huge fan of.



Plan ahead: What would be the most helpful for this person? Start observing things they do that aren't there favorite, and think of ways you could pitch in!



Quality Time


These folks don't need anything fancy--they just want to spend time with you! Carpool, take them out for lunch, grab coffee together. Whatever you do, give them your undivided attention! Limit distractions so you can make the most out of the time you spend together.



Plan ahead: Get on their calendar!





Gifts are a great way to show someone you value them, but gifts aren't necessarily everyone's go-to. They work best when they fit the person they're intended for, which means the best gifts require a little extra thought. Spoiler alert, the gift that would mean the most to that person might not necessarily be something you would want to receive.


Plan ahead: Start brainstorming ways to make their gift something they'd love! How can you incorporate their personal style, hobbies, and tastes?



Physical Touch



Last but certainly not least, these are your huggers! It's more important to recognize these folks and be sure about their Language of Appreciation, because if you get it wrong, you've just made someone deeply uncomfortable (ever hugged a touch-me-not?). So, for this one, it's best to be extra sure before you go in for that bear hug!


Plan ahead: Keep your eyes peeled--do you notice this person initiating hugs or any sort of physical contact?


How do you show appreciation? Join the conversation on social media!

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About the Author

Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka Waugh is a recognized leader in understanding people and in adapting tools, techniques, and processes to meet the demands of the situation at hand. Since 2006, Sinikka has provided compassionate leadership in transformation initiatives. When she isn’t in front of a class, she enjoys putting her background in English and French Literature to work, by writing blogs about the subjects she teaches every day.

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