Change the world through words of appreciation


Sara Freitag

Don’t be afraid to express appreciation for those around you - whether it’s Thanksgiving or not.

Sara Freitag, Opinion Editor

Have you ever received a genuine compliment that blew you away?  Not just a “you look nice today,” but an “I appreciate you for…” or “you impacted me by…”

Our world is starving for encouragement.  If a fleeting thought passes your mind and the expression of it would result in the positive affirmation of another person, then please do society a favor by sharing it.  Expressing vulnerability in this sense is not always easy.  I understand that it is not natural for everyone.  However, attaining anything of value requires risk.

Let me help you with perspective.  Several years ago, I heard a story which has impacted me to this day.  A woman was riding an escalator.  She simply smiled at a young woman who was going the opposite way.  The young woman she smiled at was taking her last steps toward what she had planned to be the end of her life.  Because this one person smiled at her, the young woman felt hope and decided she would not take her own life after all.

You have the power to brighten the world by spreading encouragement, one person at a time.  Doing so may seem trivial, but it can yield mountainous results.  If a smile can save a life, what might happen if every person were to intentionally thank those around them?  Rather than instigating a flash mob of some sort, let’s start a domino effect that is sparked by one person spreading appreciation.

One practical way to exercise your encouragement muscles is to be proactive this Thanksgiving.  Whether you’re having a traditional Thanksgiving meal with the whole kit and caboodle of family members, or you’re gathering with those closest to you for a Friendsgiving, I have a suggestion.  Allocate a sheet of paper for every individual around your table.  After everyone has placed their name on their piece of paper, each person should pass it to either their left or right.  Upon doing so, write a small paragraph, expressing what you appreciate about that person.  Continue to pass the sheets around until it comes full circle.  The end result will be beautiful letters of encouragement.

Don’t stop at just Thanksgiving, but utilize this holiday as a launching point.  Words of encouragement can transform a life, including your own.  And as each life is changed, the world is changed too.