It was actually pretty close to this time last year when I penned the piece "How To Get Through The Holidays If You Don't Observe Them". Unlike some of the other articles that I write for the site, I pulled that one from very personal experience. Being that my personality is very wired to "be good" on something once I know its origin, holidays are something that I tend to take a pass on; this includes Thanksgiving (some insightful reads on its origin are found here, here, and here). Still, this doesn't mean I'm not aware of the fact that many people use this time of year to reflect on their blessings and to say "thanks" for all the good that has come their way. Since I like to write on relationships a lot, I thought to myself, "Why not come up with ways for people to show gratitude to their significant other?"
Not only is it a kind thing to do, expressing gratitude can also be a proactive way to preserve your relationship as well. Why do I say that? It's because, more times than not, whenever someone talks to me about how their relationship has gotten to the point where it's basically on life support, one of the main reasons why is because they feel taken for granted and not appreciated.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Whether you've only been with your boo for a few months or it's been several years and counting, before you sit around a Thanksgiving dinner table to share all of the things that you are truly thankful for this year, please make the time to show your significant other why you're so grateful for them as well. If you need a little inspiration to come up with a cool way to do it, I've got a few.
1. Write a List of What You Appreciate About Them. Then Frame It.
"Appreciate" is a dope word. It means "to be grateful or thankful for" and "to value or regard highly; place a high estimate on." The reason why I think a lot of people feel taken for granted in their relationship is that their significant other tends to overlook another definition of the word—"to be fully conscious of; be aware of; detect."
All of us like to feel that the person we are seeing not only values us, but also have the desire to make sure that we're aware of just how much they do. To jot down a list of reasons why you love or admire the special individual in your life and then frame it, not only is that a sentimental gesture, it's something that they can hold close to them for the rest of their life.
2. Mail a Handwritten Thank-You Note for a Week Straight
While checking out an article onLifehack's site, it brought up some points about handwriting letters that I definitely thought were worth sharing. It said handwriting sentiments was a really classy thing to do. Plus, it showed that you cared enough about someone to take the time to write your thoughts and feelings down. It even shared a study that revealed writing things can make you feel happier and more self-satisfied.
These days, we're so used to everything coming in the form of an email or text that, imagine how surprised the object of your affection will feel to receive seven handwritten thank-you notes—one for each day of the week. The only thing that would impress them more is if you actually sent them through the mail. Because who doesn't like to see something other than a bill in their mailbox?
3. Send an Email with 10 Ways They’ve Inspired You
Not to say that emailing isn't also effective. If you take 5-10 minutes to think about what your boo has brought to your life since knowing them, you can probably easily come up with 10 ways that they've inspired you to become a better person. By expressing your gratitude in this way, not only will it be nice for your significant other to hear, but it can also remind you of why you're with them in the first place. It'll be the best email they've received in a while. I'd be willing to put a good amount of money on that.
4. Create an Appreciation Jar
One of the best gifts that I've ever received, hands down, was from two friends who gave me a box. When I opened it up, there were different colored pieces of construction paper on them. Each had a word that my friends said described my personality. Come to think of it, I've had that box for about 15 years now. It's still on display and I still adore it because it was extremely thoughtful. It also gave me insight into how other people see me.
Another way to show your partner just how much you appreciate them is to create something similar; maybe something like an appreciation jar. Go to a local art store, Walmart or Target to get a Mason jar (make sure it has a lid). Then, cut up some pieces of paper. On each one, type or handwrite one thing that you appreciate about them. Try and come up with enough things to fill the jar, at least halfway. It can be a great pick-me-up if they choose to place the jar on their desk at work. All they need to do is open it, pull out a piece of paper, and bam—they will have an instant reminder of why there is at least one person on the planet who values them and is truly thankful for them. Not just for one reason but many.
5. Make Them a Gift Basket
My godchildren's mom was recently telling me that she encouraged my older goddaughter to make the people in her life Christmas gifts this year instead of buying them. My godchild has very particular taste, even at eight years of age, so she wasn't impressed with her mom's suggestion. But I can honestly say that the things that I've gotten from my goddaughter that have moved me the most are things that she handcrafted. Just like my goddaughter, I think a lot of adults also underestimate the impact of what a handmade gift can do, especially if you're looking for ways to show someone how grateful they are to have them in your world. If you're open to considering making your partner something, how about a gift basket of some sort?
You can create one that centers around a theme like a pampering or a favorite memories basket, or you can just put a variety of random small special items in it. Items like what? Your partner's favorite cookies; a framed picture of the two of you; a CD that features some of y'all's favorite songs; tickets to a movie or upcoming concert; a bottle of wine that the two of you can share; some scented candles; a copy of a book that they've been wanting to read—these are just some ideas to get your creative juices going. Once you know what you want to put into your basket, all you need to do is go to a local arts and crafts store to pick up a basket, some cellophane to wrap everything up in, along with a big ole' bow. Just like that, you're good to go.
6. Treat Them to Something They Enjoy Doing
Something that a lot of guys tell me that they hate about dating is the fact that, oftentimes, the date is centered around what the woman wants to do, not them. Some of us don't even think about this when we're talking to our man about what to do the following weekend. No matter what your guy's love language might be, I don't know one man who wouldn't be moved by the "acts of service" decision to plan an entire date around the things that he enjoys most.
Maybe it's tickets to a game. Maybe it's doing something super adventurous. Maybe it's getting a meal from a favorite food truck and sitting in a car and talking for hours. The point is to hone in on what his likes are and then to show how much you adore him by customizing a date that is totally centered around those things. The thought itself is something that will deeply move him. It really will.
7. Have Some “Thank You Flowers” Delivered to Their Job
There's a platonic male friend of mine that I once brought flowers to. He had an acting debut and I thought that a bunch of sunflowers would be a cool gift. When I handed them to him, he said, "I've never received flowers before. I never thought that I would like getting them this much." He still talks about that to this day. That's why sending flowers makes this list. Although traditionally, we think of floral deliveries going to women, I think it would put a smile on a lot of men's faces to get a fresh bouquet at their place of business. Especially when it's from their lady and includes a sweet note.
As far as what kind of flowers to get, ones that specifically express gratitude include roses, irises, chrysanthemums, sweet peas, and any kind of yellow flower. If you want to be symbolic, that is.
8. Give Them a Personalized Gratitude Journal
Another way to show your boo just how grateful you are for them is to gift them with a gratitude journal. The reason why this can ultimately prove to be the gift that keeps on giving is that there is a significant amount of scientific evidence to support that expressing gratitude on a regular basis enhances relationships, improves one's physical as well as psychological health, improves our self-esteem and even makes it easier to sleep at night.
Make the journal an extra special present by getting it personalized with their name on it, along with a favorite love quote, song lyric, or an original sentiment about how you feel about your partner. Don't forget to write an inscription on the inside of the journal too. As far as where you can get a personalized journal, off the top of my head, I know that Etsy offers some that are at a pretty reasonable price.
9. Purchase Something Made Out of “Gratitude Crystals”
If you want to give a gift that comes in the form of jewelry or maybe even a keychain, how about giving your partner something that is made out of crystals that evoke feelings of gratitude by making the individual feel good about themselves? Druzy crystals promote feelings of self-love. Sodalites promote feelings of self-awareness. Danburite encourages people to let their light shine. Rhodochrosite symbolizes joy and compassion in one's life. Green Aventurine is both a comforter as well as a heart healer. A gift that has these kinds of meanings will make the receiver grateful to receive it, and grateful every time that they wear it (or use it) and the gift-giver comes to mind.
10. Get a Wall Calendar and Write a Memory You Cherish for Each Month of the Year
We are right on the cusp of a new year. Something else that you can do to keep your partner organized and make them feel appreciated is to get them a 2022 wall calendar. Then, for each month, write a memory pertaining to you two's relationship that you truly cherish. It's kind. It's thoughtful. And it's something that they can make use of for the next 365 days.
I can just imagine how much closer a lot of people would be in their relationship of expressing gratitude was a priority. Set the bar by doing something creative for your partner over the next few days. It will make both of you feel that much closer. Gratitude always does.
Feature image by Shutterstock
Originally published on November 27, 2019
- 8 Things To Be Thankful For In Life - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- 7 Reasons To Love Where You Are—Right At This Very Moment - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- 11 creative ways to say thank you ›
- Five creative ways to express gratitude | Delta Optimist ›
- 25 Fun, Quirky and Memorable Customer Appreciation Ideas ›
- Fun and creative ways to express gratitude | City Parent ›
- 10 Creative Ways to Show Employee Appreciation ›
- 11 Creative Ways to Express Gratitude | The Chopra Center ›
- 12 CREATIVE WAYS FOR KIDS TO EXPRESS GRATITUDE ›
- 5 Creative Ways to Experience More Gratitude (and How It Can ... ›
- 10 Creative Ways to Express Gratitude ›
- Appreciation Leads to Retention: 7 Creative Ways to Express ... ›
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith went to social media to share their Thanksgiving holiday with followers. The pair were surrounded by family and friends Thursday, and both posted how grateful they were to be with the ones they loved. Yet this comes on the heels of Pinkett Smith’s whirlwind of negative opinions and critics forecasting her book would be a flop.
Despite the negative feedback she received, Worthy, Pinkett Smith’s memoir, still debuted at #3 on the New York Times’ Best Seller list on October 25. The greatest backlash she received was centered around her relationship with Smith and the fact that the two had been living separate lives since 2016.
The commentary about their marriage overshadowed the reality that this book is ultimately about her journey to self-worth and the path she’s had to take in order to get there.
Social media comments about her book tour ranged from, “Me counting all the times Jada woke up and chose to embarrass Will Smith,” to podcasts like The Joe Budden Podcast saying, “Take me out the group chat,” which was a sentiment shared by many celebrities and fans alike. Yet, a point made by comedian KevOnStage proved that even though people say they don’t want to know about the Smiths, they’re secretly interested and want to know more.
Since the Smiths were wed in 1997, people have been fascinated with their marriage, and rumors about their marital arrangement have always been a topic of conversation. People continue to speculate that the pair is gay and swingers, and even new allegations have come out that Smith and Duane Martin shared an intimate relationship at one point.
However, despite their consistent united front throughout their marriage in recent years, Pinkett Smith has borne the brunt of backlash in the couple’s relationship, from her entanglement with August Alsina to Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards to the recent truths she’s shared about the couple’s marriage in her memoir.
Individuals are consistently running to the internet to support Smith and villainize Pinkett Smith, from podcast guests saying things such as “She doesn’t like Will, she likes the lifestyle” to deeming her “mean” or "manipulative" because of her facial expressions and demeanor.
Likewise, when you have hosts of daytime talk shows such as Ana Navarro saying, “I think she’s having a relationship with her bank account,” insinuating Pinkett Smith only shared stories about Smith to increase her book sales, it begs the question of where was this same energy when Smith released his memoir?
In Will, Smith discusses both of his marriages and how, in relationships, because of his upbringing, he needed constant validation and praise from his partners to feel secure. He also shared the reality that Pinkett Smith never wanted to be married, just as she never wanted the huge estate they share in California, but he wanted to give it to her despite her feelings about it.
Smith admitted to creating this family empire that only further boosted his ego and what he wanted his legacy to be instead of actually asking his family what they wanted or needed. People praised him for his vulnerability and said his book was an inspiration.
So how is it that one book about a person’s family, upbringing, and journey to self is praised, and another is villainized? The glaring thought that comes to me is, does likability often trump accountability?
People love Smith and his “good guy” persona; he’s always been an attractive, charismatic man that people can relate to, so even when he speaks about the way he mismanaged his marriage and family, it’s seen as growth. On the contrary, because Pinkett Smith doesn’t constantly fawn over him and shares how miserable she was in their marriage, she’s the villain.
People still blame her for not stopping Smith from smacking Rock at the Oscars and share their sentiments about how she embarrassed Smith with her entanglement with Alsina. Though this is a celebrity couple we’ve all followed for years, the question must be asked, how much accountability must Black women be subjected to in relationship to their partners' actions?
Why is it that the media is more interested in the marriage between Smith and Pinkett Smith than her childhood, or the fact her memoir consists of writing prompts, meditations, and methods for other women to find their sense of worth?
Could it be that the larger society doesn’t value Black women having the tools to find their own sense of worth? Or is it that Black women are expected to accept whatever is given to them regardless of how they feel or what they want?
The exclusive interview with Eboni K. Williams (@ebonikwilliams) and Dr. Iyanla Vanzant about if she would date a bus driver seems to have a lot of people talking. You can watch her response tonight on #theGrio. Catch the full interview, here: https://t.co/ctxE0zKFWj pic.twitter.com/BhIO52T2fg— theGrio.com (@theGrio) May 2, 2023
When Eboni K. Williams shared that she wasn’t interested in dating a bus driver, the internet blew up with individuals saying that Black women need to be less selective with their dating prospects. The commentary around this conversation shed much light on the reality that this demographic is expected and invited to settle in love if they actually want a life partner.
Black women aren’t often given the space to find their joy, fulfillment, or even self-worth because of the responsibility they’re forced to acquire in order to support their families and communities. Yet, “high value” Black men speak vehemently about Black women’s masculinity and inability to submit. We’re often inundated with podcast guests sharing that they’re not impressed by our success and are uninterested in our aspirations.
Black women, from a young age, are taught to place their community first and cater to the men around them regardless of what they do or how they behave.
We see this when young girls are told to put on pants when male relatives come around, we experience it when domestic violence survivors are encouraged not to press charges against their perpetrators, and we even see it when Black women face backlash for dating outside of their race.
The way Pinkett Smith has been treated since sharing the truth about her life and journey of discovering her self-worth is another example of how the world isn’t receptive to Black women being their most authentic selves.
It’s another example we can hold up to illustrate how Black women are expected to be magical but not human.
Even with this article, I’m sure there will be many who want to argue why Pinkett Smith was wrong in her narrative, but at the end of the day, it was her story to tell, and no one has more authority to share her lived experience than her.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by James Devaney/GC Images