"Written 52 letters of appreciation to people in my life"

By Jarrett Retz -April 26th, 2018

The title of this post is a quote from my post of goals for the next year of my life (SeeĀ The 25th Year).

Gratitude has been very interesting to me because of the immediate positive emotional impact it seems to have. I included this goal for a few reasons, among them;

  • I could essentially write one "thank you note" or "appreciation letter" for every week of this year creating a consistent flow of gratitude
  • I felt that I had some appreciation to catch up on
  • Writing the appreciations down on paper and mailing them seemed easier (considering distance & timing) than waiting till I had a face-to-face moment

Anyway, I immediately fell behind. I've been doing some catching up now and am almost back on schedule. Doing the notes in batches on 4-10 seems to be the way to go. I'm able to cultivate and ride out a gratitude wave that feels pure and good.

I've written thank you notes that pertained to the last couple months and couple weeks. However, the real letters of appreciation that I wanted to write were to people that have had a positive impact on my life over the last six years.

The important notes are to people that have drifted away, or left my life, that I wasn't able to thank when they were a part of it. I'm very averse to the thought, and it's difficult to see what I'm actually nervous about. The types of people that this includes is past teachers, ex-girlfriends, and old friends.

I think that these letters of appreciation help the mind recreate the way the past is viewed. Scientific evidence also supports the positive effects that gratitude (sometimes with thank you notes) can have with certain groups of people.

To be clear, I don't write one letter to 52 different people in my life. There are a couple people that I have written multiple letters for, because the appreciation I have felt for them has continued for the last six months or so.

In terms of immediate positive impact, letters of appreciation are such an easy go-to.

Below are some examples from the letters;

"I wanted to thank you for being such a loving and fun influence in my life."

"Thanks for being so generous in the time that I have been down in California."

"I appreciate how you treat the staff, including myself, and I hope the rest of the season (and summer) are enjoyable."

"[...] I appreciate your friendship then and I appreciate it now. Just wanted to wish you good luck this summer at your new job, and wish you the best as you piece your life together into something you really enjoy."

"Finally, I'd like to thank you for suggesting an article [...] that had many good books that ended up having a positive impact on my life. You may not remember it, because it was almost two years ago now. Anyway, I haven't forgotten the thoughtfulness in that."

"I appreciate the role that you played in my life and what that did for me."

"Your generosity [...] did so much for my life this fall. I wanted to thank you for that first."

It's not anything crazy, and I think if you give it a shot (set some arbitrary goal or number to hit) you won't regret it.

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