Photo: Daniel Foster
Powerful words come in threes: I love you. I was wrong. Way to go!
Yesterday, a stranger added to that collection when she told me, “We appreciate you.” She and her boyfriend had just bought some things from my yard sale, and we had spent a little bit of time chatting. Her parting words stuck with me the remainder of the day.
Can you really appreciate someone you hardly know? I contemplated that at length and realized yes, indeed you can. We appreciate the restaurant servers who bring us our food. We appreciate the grocery clerks who help us find items we’re searching for. We appreciate the drivers who give us space to change lanes in front of them.
Despite that, I don’t think I’ve ever told one of those people, “I appreciate you,” although I have shared those words with people I know. It seems like such a personal statement — especially to me, a person whose love language is words of affirmation. I like my words to be genuine. After all, our words are powerful.
Maybe I should start saying that phrase more. It does feel good to be appreciated. Can I in good conscience tell someone I don’t know very well I appreciate them? Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines appreciation as an “expression of gratification and approval, of gratitude.” In light of that, I think I can, but I have to caution against overdoing it and the words becoming meaningless.
The next time you appreciate someone, will you tell them? The world needs more attitudes of gratitude. I’m thankful for that stranger yesterday who made my day. Now it’s my turn to pass it on.
Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"