“Appreciate, Don’t Hate”
Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins
Greetings Hot Tea and Ice Sippers! I trust you are well.
The temperatures are dropping, clothing is getting thicker, and we are getting into that holiday frame of mind. Even if you do not subscribe to a particular faith, the remainder of 2017 should offer you at least one day to spend time with loved ones, do some shopping–or smile at someone who has to work while you enjoy a day off.
One major break in the monotony of daily life that approaches is the fourth Thursday of November. For one day, we are supposed to give thanks for all the good things we have in our lives. That is in between gorging on carbs, plotting a way to drop sums of money at retail stores, and watching television in between power naps.
Thanksgiving means different things to different people: having one day to be thankful is okay, but I would say expressing appreciation should be a year-round event.
And what is the difference between being thankful and the appreciation of thankfulness? Being thankful is the actual expression of gratitude, while the latter is the tendency to recognize the worth of someone or something.
Sometimes, we are so caught up in the swirl of our affairs that we neglect to recognize those who avail themselves to make our paths clearer. We tend to see past people’s good deeds and do not let others know that we see their good works– and appreciate them for doing things they do not have to do.
A popular train of thought that has chugged through many of our lives has been the adage “in life, no one owes you anything.” Yet, so often, so many of us benefit from things we are given. But unfortunately, we do not take time enough to show appreciation.
I will be the first to admit that I do not often show my appreciation for those around me for making my life easier. For the most part, when I wake up in the morning, my partner sets the coffee maker for me so all I have to do is press “on,” and “voila!” When I exit from the shower, my morning addiction greets me. Because of our differing work schedule, she arrives home before I do, and dinner often greets me when I get there. Those gestures make my day flow so much better; however, I on occasion neglect to let her know much it means to me that she does those things.
While she never has to worry about the dishwasher being unloaded and clothes making it from the laundry basket to her closet, it still would be a nice gesture for me to recognize what she does to make my morning and evening better.
Imagine how much better life could be if we simply let people know that we appreciate them for being kind and helpful. We teach children to say “thank you;” but how often do we incorporate that into our own grown-folk conversations?
I refuse to accept that we cannot appreciate other people’s goodwill; or for that matter, we do not understand that when someone does something nice that they aren’t necessarily doing it for the applause– but because it is just the nice thing to do. Sometimes, it’s the simple “I see what you are doing and I appreciate it” that makes such a difference.
If you want to go full-out with floral arrangements, sweet treats, or power ballads to let people know you are appreciated, then that’s cool. However, sometimes the simplest gesture gets the message across just as well.
All of us should be more proactive about letting people know we appreciate them in minor and major ways that fit the situation. It may be a simple wave of appreciation when the driver on the expressway lets you in his/her lane, or the smile and head nod when someone with a cart full of groceries lets you and your three items go ahead of them.
It could be as grand as a day when all your partner has to do is get up– because you have taken care of everything. And, friends aren’t exempt from showing appreciation. Show that bestie who always “has your back” or a spare twenty dollars until payday. In turn, you can appreciate the gesture by treating your bestie to lunch or cocktails.
The simple act of appreciation doesn’t cost anything, but it can actually add value. Try it sometimes, and feel how good it makes you feel. True, it doesn’t compare to that slice of pie your aunt only makes this time of year; but it’s still a good thing, nevertheless.
Until next time: Adios, au revoir and I “holler!”
LaToya Hankins is the author of SBF Seeking, and K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood. Currently, LaToya is an employee of the State of North Carolina’s Health and Human Services department. Prior to that, she worked for nearly a decade in the field of journalism. An East Carolina University graduate, LaToya earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism, with a minor in political science.
During her college career, LaToya became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and currently is the president of the Chapel Hill, N.C. graduate chapter. As well, she is an active member of the, The Black Lesbian Literary Collective,a non-profit organization organized in N.C. The Collective’s mission is to create a nurturing and sustainable environment for Black lesbian and queer women of color writers.