|My Mother & I -- 2015|
This month is known for its most famous holiday, Valentine’s Day. Generally, we think it’s all about recognizing our sweet heart, buying the token chocolates and giving them a big smoochie kiss. But in my heart of hearts, I wish the holiday was more about relationships in general and a reminder to acknowledge those relationship not just on one token holiday but every day. Because bottom line, we don’t know if we may get another chance.
A few years ago, my mother passed away. Although I have always been a very verbal person in sharing my feelings, especially with her, I knew her time was drawing nigh. I made sure that absolutely nothing was left unsaid. The next day she slipped into a non-responsive state and died four days later. I will forever be grateful for our last day and that time I had with her. I was lucky. I knew time was short and I made it count.
But life is uncertain. That experience made me realize that I can’t wait for those moments to say what I feel and I decided to open up my heart even more to my family and friends. And I make sure that I don’t just leave it as an “I love you” but rather tell them specifically why I love them and what they mean to me.
Well, you know me. I can’t leave well enough alone. I took my idea and put it on steroids. I decided to not only share my feelings with family and friends but started including total strangers as well. Before long everyone from the stoic woman taking my order at Taco Bell to the grumpy pharmacist at our grocery store became the recipient of my verbal expressions. And guess what happened. The lady at Taco Bell now greets me by name and even remembers my “regular order.” The pharmacist is no longer grumpy but now asks about my kids, grandkids and even my business when he sees me. Not only did it change their outlook but it made own heart tingle with joy.
At first it wasn’t easy. I tend to go overboard, gush a bit too much and make people a bit, well, uncomfortable. I had to learn to dial it back. But I understand that some people are just the opposite and not comfortable verbalizing their thoughts. Sometimes they get stuck before they even get started. So here are a few ideas:
- Leave notes. Writing a quick love note can be just as impactful and can make someone’s day. Start off with something as simple as “Thank you for being so…” My husband’s desk is filled with little sticky type notes I’ve written with just such sentiments. I find it amusing that he never seems to throw them away.
- Brag on someone in front of others. I love calling attention to something someone has done. Even though they may shrug it off, usually inside they glow with pride. This works especially well in places of business when you tell the boss or owner how great their employee is.
- Give compliments. To everyone and anyone. It’s actually really fun to do once you get started. Tell the waitress at your favorite restaurant that you like her pretty smile. Compliment the bagger at your grocery store for always taking such care in bagging your groceries. Look for simple things to compliment and I promise, it will simply make their day.
Give it a try. Speak from your heart. Share the love. You’ll make a difference in their world and in the process, you’ll change your own.