Showing Appreciation When the Calendar Doesn't Tell You To

As Americans, we celebrate many things in a one-and-done format: a day for the earth, a day for love, a day for veterans, a day to give thanks, a day for mothers…today is one of those days. Today we celebrate all that our mothers are, and all that they have done for us.

There are so many different types of experiences people have on this specific 'holiday.' While some of us see our mothers everyday, every few weeks, or every few months; some of us don't have our mothers around anymore, or it has been decided there is no relationship, or there was never an opportunity to have a relationship, or any other variation of circumstance. 

Whatever the type of relationship, sometimes in our fast-paced lives, there can be a tendency to pencil this day in on our calendars, do the due diligence of calling, celebrating or sending flowers, and immediately getting back to into the weekly routine. If your mother is no longer around, it can be a more difficult experience filled with emotion.

For anyone with any type of experience, there is an opportunity to use the concept of acknowledgement, gratitude and selflessness - and make it an every day thing. To reframe your perspective on why we need a national reminder to show appreciation. This year for me, these types of commercial holidays are becoming reminders that I don’t need a special day to say thank you -- to anyone in my life.

For those who have positive relationships with their mothers, perhaps you can channel that same energy you bring to Mother’s Day to your mom when it isn’t on the calendar. This extends beyond a typical phone call - because this mindset isn't about checking the box, its about the content and the quality of the interaction. The same effort that is put forth by so many on Mothers Day, can easily be done in a shorter but meaningful action every day of the year.

For those who do not have positive relationships or no longer have their moms around, there are ways to bring intentional appreciation to the lives of other people who have made an impact on you. The holiday is about showing other people they matter, so perhaps there is someone who embodies qualities that you admire as you would those of a mother. Or someone who has simply been a major influence in your life. Choose a time today and everyday, to show your appreciation for their existence.

This article by Troy Campbell reminds us that there is proven psychological benefits of sustained positive emotions. So rather than giving thanks in short spurts like what Mothers Day kind of forces us to do - we should consider propelling forward continuous acts of appreciation - things like regularly spending quality time over coffee or telling someone how much they mean to you, or helping them work through a difficult problem. Research shows these sustained acts of gratitude and kindness lead to greater well being.

If you are reading this and don't completely disagree, try using today not as only a one-and-done, but a catalyst to treating the people in your life with that same kind of purposeful attention on a more regular basis. 

Thank you, mom - for everything.

Thank you, mom - for everything.