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A Gift That Wows!

Photo by Cindy Loughridge

Do you remember the last time you were deeply touched by someone? Sometimes, it is the little gestures that touch us most.

Here’s to Old Friends

It was my dear friend Tania’s birthday over the weekend. Tania was my college roommate of 4 years, someone who I’ve always admired for her grace and kindness. When we graduated, we both moved to Seattle. As we continued into new chapters of our lives as adults, we saw less and less of one another. Over the years, we’ve settled into a comfortable routine of seeing each other twice a year: on my birthday and her birthday *smiles*.

Near the end of her party, she had pulled me aside. After giving me various feedback regarding my blog, she looked deep into my eyes, paused slightly and said genuinely,

“You are amazing. Even if you didn’t have the blog, I would still be so proud of you in so many ways… like that time you imitated (our friend) Tim after his conductor class, how your energy just shined. You know, I will always be here to be your cheerleader… regardless of what you worked on. I have so much faith in you. Just always know that.”

I stood there, stunned, and trying hard to hold back my tears. I smiled back at her with sincere gratitude.

“Wow! What a gift!” I thought.

Instead of going to a party as a gift giver, I came home as the ultimate gift receiver.

The Best Gift of All

It became clear to me that one of the best gifts we can give someone is appreciation and an open communication to express that appreciation. It took her two minutes of connecting with me and I was shaken-up for days. I felt more energetic, more positive and unusually calm.

Sometimes, it’s the ones closest to us who we take for granted, unintentionally of course. Ironically, those closest are also the people whom we love most. When our lives become hectic from chasing after one task to the next, it is really easy to miss the simple gifts we are graced with everyday.



What Can You Do?

Try this on someone over the next week. It will be one of the most precious and rewarding gifts you can give someone. Trust me.

  1. Take 5-10 minutes of uninterrupted time out of your day. Find a spot with a pen and paper.
  2. Pick a person you love or care for.
  3. (Optional) listen to some soothing music.
  4. Close your eyes and think of all the good times you’ve shared with this person. Think of times where this person has helped you or given you priceless gifts of love and friendship. Conversations you’ve had, or memories you’ve shared together.
  5. Think of qualities that you admire and appreciate about this person. Imagine specific scenarios of this person expressing that quality.
  6. Start writing down some of these ideas, memories, admired qualities and specific examples.
  7. Find a few moments to connect with this person (you two don’t have to be alone or even sitting down).
  8. Before telling them, send out the intention that you want to let this person know how amazing they are and how much you genuinely appreciate them. Start speaking with this frame of mind, and this intention will be clearly shown in the way you speak.
  9. Tell them how amazing they are, and why you think they are amazing. Talk about all the things you admire about them or have learned from them. Make sure to use specific examples.
  10. Tell them you are proud of them and will always be here for them. (of course, only if you feel it)
  11. Thank them for being part of your life.
  12. The key here is to be genuine. If you don’t feel it, please don’t say it, it’ll be clear to the receiver exactly how you feel. Don’t memorize. The writing down step was meant to help you collect your thoughts. Please do not read from it. :) Express yourself naturally.

How do you express appreciation to those special people in your life? How did you feel when you told them? If you felt all warm and fuzzy inside, perhaps you might consider making a small list of people and repeat the process with them. People on my list: Adam, Mom, my Step Dad, my friend Daniel.

Who are you thinking of practicing this on? Have you had similar stories? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments. See you there. :)

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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39 thoughts on A Gift That Wows!

  1. This is something I’m definitely going to do for my girlfriend. I was pretty moved by this article – I’m such a girl I know – and I’ve Dugg it for you too!

    Have a great day


  2. Hi Tina,

    This is a great spiritual exercise which I believe I can do it easily.

    Thanks for sharing them.

    My list: My nieces, my classmates, my students. :)

  3. Hi Tina,

    Even though we have not met face to face, or even know each other for long, I just want to say this ” I appreciate you”

    I appreciate the energy, the time, and feelings you have put
    in your writings. I am not flattering you :) as I don’t like


  4. This is a great exercise and something that everyone should consider doing. Letting someone know that they are loved and appreciated is the best gift you can give them.

  5. Hey Tina,

    Okay, so I’m supposed to be a tough NYC guy and I even got a little choked up reading that. No doubt, there is no greater gift than your gratitude, compassion, presence and support!

    Thanks for sharing!


  6. Tina, You deserve it. Nice job here once again with great advice! Thanks for sharing!! I plan to do this today!

  7. Gil

    To thank you for your generosity I would offer you my first born child but that wouldn’t even be enough for all the lessons, teachings, help guides, words of advice, instructions, courses, love, joy, peace, sunshine, and everything else that I gain and learn from reading your blog. Thank you for another great article Tina.

  8. I experienced this yesterday. A new friend I made gave me a call after a lunch we had just to tell me how much she enjoyed my company, who I am as a person, and how she appreciated our new friendship. That felt amazing and it really made my day..I was so touched!

    I do think its important to love out loud – let people that you care about know that you appreciate them. I find it contributes to your own happiness with such a richness.. a joy

    this is a beautiful article

  9. Sarahe

    This is something that will go along perfectly with my new years resolution! My goal is to write a letter to at least one person in my life each week. I want to do this to both suprise them with a real letter and to tell they why they are important to me. I like this idea of getting some ideas and I am looking forward to the rest of the year! So far so good, I have been able to do at least one letter a week.

    Thanks for your blog Tina, I think you have some really good things on here!

  10. So true. So beautiful. Thank you for sharing Tina. I appreciate the time, energy and spirit you put into this post.

    :) Kelly

  11. Tina: How great to have received the wonderful gift of affirmation and encouragement from a dear friend. You are truly blessed to have someone like that in your life. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  12. Annie

    What a touching entry! Lovely! I cannot wait to try this out some time with a great teacher of mine :P

  13. sleepyhead

    This post sums up exactly what I’ve been carrying in my head for the last few weeks or so.

    This last Christmas I went back home to visit my family. Not so unusual, right? Well my parents and I clashed on a few issues years ago (cultural and relationship related….long story). Now I’m not one for cold wars, so we managed to get along politely since then, but we just aren’t as close as we used to be. Additionally, they live on a different continent, and I hadn’t been back in over 3 years.

    People that know me well would never consider me to be mean or easily angered, but at the time I was in a really tough place and thrashed out at my parents. I don’t want to get into details, but it’s the sort of thing that would typically lead to being disowned! They definitely saw the cruel side of me — probably the first time ever — and they didn’t deserve it.

    Initially, I couldn’t bring up the courage to go through with it. Everyone wants to talk about happy things at Christmas, not the depressing and wrongful stuff that has long passed. So I ended up writing them a letter, starting off with addressing the exact painful topic that started the whole thing. Then I told them I didn’t want to have any taboo topics between us. I also told them that regardless of what happened, I was grateful that they stuck by me, trying to understand, even though I treated them like dirt. The day before I left I gave them the letter, let them read it, and we talked. After I left my parents wrote me an email, which I read after I arrived back in the US. Here is part of what they wrote:

    “It seems you have had a lot of healing going on. We congratulate you for that. Going through your experience, you can come out gaining character, or becoming one. Obviously, you have gained character and wisdom with your experience.

    For sure those times in the past were difficult ones. There were hard for us, knowing that you seemed to be suffering a lot from your relationship… When some of these things were happening, I think we were more shocked than hurt. The most important thing we can give you and will always give you is our love for you. That is not a responsibility. It is a privilege of being your parents.”

    I choked up and wept, almost violently. Afterwards I realized I had never cried once during the whole conflict I had with my parents years ago, yet there I was, completely floored, in tears, by what they said. What did I do to deserve this gift?

    I didn’t intend my apology to them to be a gift, but they accepted it as such. And while their words in return make a fine gift, the true reward here (obviously) is a renewed connection that had gone stale over the years. And I’m grateful.

    Phew! My apologies to everyone for being verbose. Thanks Tina, for a post that reflected how I’ve been feeling.

  14. Thank you you for reminding us of the importance of those closest to us. You’re absolelutely right, it seems often times that those we love most we are often times the ones we take for granted. Why this is I’m not sure. I guess we are so comfortable with them we assume they will always be there. As I was reading your blog I was thinking about those closest to me and what it would be like if I woke up tomorrow and they were gone. What words would I wish that I would have said? What actions would I wish that I could have taken?

  15. Hi Tina,

    The timing of your post is amazingly in sync with what was happening in my life, last night I delivered a gift that touched someone who touched me. I have been thinking about the experience of giving with your heart, and here I am, reading your new post about gift.

    Like you mentioned appreciation being one of the best gifts, I think regardless of the form, type, size, and (monetary) value of the gift, as long as it is delivered from your heart, it would be a tremendous one.


  16. Hi Tina.
    You’re post really “hits home.” Its nice to remind people that giving compliments costs nothing and doing so can inspire and uplift people in unexpected ways. Many of us can also learn to accept compliments with more grace and dignity as well. Society tends to condition people to think they are inadequate, unworthy and undeserving. Yet, we all deserve to be loved and appreciated. This begins inside ourselves.

  17. David

    I wish someone would take a moment to do something like that for me… but I hardly know anyone.

    Happy birthday to me!

  18. Wow that is really useful article for me. Thanks a lot!

  19. Great message, Tina!
    Appreciation, having faith in others really go a long way!
    One possible thing you can do, prophesy others’ future

    One of my ex-boss has ever said this to me when I’m about to leave his company, “You’ve got great attitude Robert, you will go a long way!” Wow, it’s really a statement that I remembered since then! That also encourage me to have a great attitude where-ever I go.

    Appreciation does go a long way, and possible to change somebody’s live.

    Tina, really appreciate your blog! You changed so many people’s life from your blog!

    Keep it up!

  20. Truer words were never spoken. I love the fact that you give out the step-by-step instructions about how we can encourage others. To say “you should encourage others” is one fine; to provide very practical applications of that idea is awesome.

    I’m going to do this, today, with my old roomate from college.

    Thank you so much for the idea!

  21. Thank you so much for this post (Dugg, by the way). :) I had a similar experience with my wife recently, although her gift was something she did for me instead of something she said. A simple act of kindness told me so much about the way she felt about me and touched me deeply.

    I wrote about it in-length here ( if you’d like to read about the experience. (I don’t want to try to summarize it in this comment – I’m afraid I won’t do it justice!)

  22. Someone told me I shouldn’t give away my art for free. I responded that what comes back to me from giving is better than selling my pieces. The gratitude it generates, the goodness it spreads, that’s the point of what I’m doing in the first place. I so enjoy getting to do what I do that I’m always so appreciative of connections I make and of encouragement I receive.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge that has personally helped you appreciate Life more.


  23. Thanks for this wonderful post Tina. This kind of support and appreciation is indeed the best and most precious gift one can give to some other person.

  24. Tina,

    This is a moving article.

    I’ve recently found a great way to give people these ‘wows’… a way to really act on a prompting to make someone feel great and appreciated. I’d love to show it to you if you have the time. Shoot me an email if you’re interested!


  25. jd

    Tina – I like your story and insight. It’s so true that while actions speak louder than words, it’s tough to beat words from the heart, at the right moment, the right way, from the right person.

    One thing I did that significantly increased my appreciation for those around me is I decided to think of everybody as my mentor. This is a powerful lens on multiple levels. For one, it helps me see each person’s unique value and skills. Two, it makes each day a treasure hunt. I’ve literally seen people I’ve known for years in a new light.

    The real surprise for me though is that when I appreciate somebody’s strength or gift, is that many times they didn’t actually realize their own ability or how unique or powerful it is. I guess we don’t always know our own strengths. Thinking back though, I do remember a collegue that called out a strength I didn’t realize I had and it ended up drastically reshaping my focus at work, and, as a result, my impact.

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