Have you watched MAID on Netflix? I recently finished watching and although there are many important themes to discuss—emotional abuse, the broken systems in America, PTSD and depression—there is one theme I want to write about here: appreciating the under-appreciated people in our lives.
We talk a lot about making sure our significant others, parents, children, and those closest to us feel appreciated. But what about the other people who are important to us and make our lives easier? Sometimes we pay them for a service and sometimes they do something for us that lightens our load, free of charge. And maybe you’re thinking, “I give my cleaning person extra cash at Christmas,” or “I left a box of snacks for my UPS driver,” and “I sent a thank you text to a neighbor that cooked me a meal.”
But what is left after the cash is spent, the snacks are eaten, and the thank you text is deleted? Did these things that you felt obligated to do or that were trendy to do really express gratitude and make that person feel seen?
In the MAID series, the main character, Alex, struggles with food insecurity, lack of transportation, and homelessness after experiencing years of emotional abuse from her significant other. She gets a job as a maid and despite trying to humanize herself over and over to one of the homeowners, she is deemed unworthy (and even has to confront this presumably rich woman for the money she’s owed). This homeowner didn’t really see or appreciate Alex until she read Alex’s notebook of short stories and realized how terrible she was being. The written word is so powerful. We can collect our thoughts and express our deepest emotions in a way that changes someone’s perspective, maybe even their entire outlook on life. But the under-appreciated people in our lives shouldn’t have to be budding authors to be acknowledged.
As I was watching, I just kept wishing someone would show some appreciation for Alex to remind her of her self-worth and value. I feel very strongly about sending thank you notes after someone has given me a gift or did something for me. But even I’m guilty of overlooking some of the most important people in my life… like the person that cleaned my home so I could focus on work and rest, the dog walker that I relied on when I couldn’t make it home from work, or the mail carrier who saves me from driving 20 minutes to and from the post office every day.
Take a moment to really think… how do the cleaning people, dog walkers, mail carriers, babysitters, and neighbors make your life easier? Maybe you’re thinking, “they know I appreciate them”… but do they? Have you said these words?
“I appreciate you. What you do for me makes my life easier. I am so glad you’re a part of my life.”
And if you take it one step further and write those words down in a card, these under-appreciated people will have something to go back to again and again to remember what they do is appreciated and needed. That THEY are appreciated and needed.
This is exactly what I plan to do this month. I just made a new mail carrier card for my shop, and I’m going to write a note inside for my mail carrier to let them know how much I appreciate all they do. And I'm going to include a photo of my dog Shiloh dressed up like a USPS worker for Halloween—sure to make them smile!
I truly believe the exercise of writing a handwritten note of gratitude to someone is one of the most cathartic things we can do. The positive feelings associated with it put us in a better mood, and it will brighten the day of the person on the receiving end.
Maybe this has you thinking about someone in your past as well. It’s never too late to send a thank you note or note of gratitude. I promise it will be well-received and maybe even held onto for years to come. Will you join me in writing some appreciation notes this month?
Here are some cards from my shop if you need them:
Social media: @alisonrosevintage