Around the holidays I feel especially blessed when I hear people complaining about spending time with their family. At that point I say, “they’re your family, make the best of it,” or just keep my mouth shut. I feel sorry for those who can’t find love and support in their family. I treasure treasure every single person in my family. The idea of family is so satisfying for me, I give the same badge of honor and unconditional love to longtime friends.
This year, I had two friends I considered family let me down BIG TIME. Oh my goodness, they broke my heart. But life goes on I suppose.
For that reason, I think it’s important that each person in my life who I consider family or friend hear not just “I love you” but more importantly “thank you” for being in my life.
Now, since we say “thank you” all the time, the gesture has a tendency to go in one ear and out the other.
So here are four ways I say “thank you”
so my loved ones hear me clearly and feel my gratitude.
1. BE SPECIFIC.
People don’t turn away when you’re giving them praise. They pay closer attention. So when I say thank you, I follow it with specific instances in which that person made me feel safe, supported, and special.
2. HUG AND HOLD.
At the end of the dinner or party, when you pull someone in for a hug, hold them there and say your thanks. There is so much strength and meaning in a great hug, they’ll know you really appreciate them.
3. KISSEY PICTURE.
Now this is a signature Mary move. I’ll take a normal posed picture and then insist on a “kissey picture” in which I kiss my friend (or above my mom) on the cheek. Then I’ll email it with a specific note of thanks and love. Sometimes I go a little farther to print it, frame it, and send it with a card that goes into how thankful I am to have them in my life. The unusual picture is unforgettable and so is the sentiment. My hope is that every time they see it, they will smile knowing they are adored.
4. SPREAD THE WORD.
This goes back to being specific. In this scenario, you tell a story about your loved one to a group at your feast. Your big ending is hopefully a laugh from the group followed by an ode of gratitude. When the group sees your loved one, they’ll share your story. The recipient will feel satisfied that he/she has affected your life in such a positive way.