By Li Jing
“Thank you”. Two simple words that can make someone feel appreciated and make someone’s day. Often we don’t realise the power of these words and how much they matter. Saying those words cost nothing, and yet what I’ve realised is that we’re stingy with them.
I realised this while I was in line to buy food in Ikea. There were ten people in front of me, and ten out of ten just took their food and walked away without saying a single word. Having parents who were once waiters, it had been drilled into me that it was especially appreciated when someone says thank you, so upon receiving my plate, I just murmured a simple thanks with a smile. It was 5 in the evening, the poor guy was probably there since 9, and judging from his expression, he seemed pretty out of it. The minute I said thank you, however, his mood instantly changed, his face lit up in a smile and he bade me good day.
It’s little things like that that made me feel like I’d done something good for the day.  Regardless of whether it’s the cleaners, the waiters, our own parents or teachers, sometimes all it takes is a simple thank you. A sincere thank you will always be better than an insincere gift.
These past two months were filled with days dedicated to appreciation; Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Teacher’s Day, and even International Best Friends Day. Looking at my peers, my siblings, my Instagram and Twitter account, I realise that we only ever show our appreciation to others on these ‘special’ days, myself included. So why not more often?

‘Appreciate what you have, before it turns into what you had’

No doubt this quote has been heard countless times throughout our lives, but we never truly put much thought into it. It probably would’ve just inspired us for a few minutes and then something else catches our attention and poof, there it goes.
Appreciation doesn’t have to be in the form of anything extravagant or an expensive gift. All it needs is sincerity. A simple hand-made card, with a short meaningful message or a “thank you” when they do something for you would beat a bouquet of roses just tossed in their direction (Not that I’m suggesting extravagant or expensive gifts are a big no, as long as those gifts too are thoughtful and given with sincerity).
Summing up, we need to appreciate those around us, even for the simplest things. Gratitude is short in supply nowadays. We’re in the age of growing up and finding ourselves, but often we forget those who helped us to find ourselves. It’s high time we take a step back and learn to appreciate the people and things around us before it’s too late.

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